Mathis Gruenewald, The Crucifixion


1512-1516
Oil on panel, 269 307 cm (105.9 120.9 in)
Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar, France

This is one of the panels from the Isenheim Altarpiece. Gruenwald emphasizes the pain of the crucifixion by portraying a haggard, sagging Jesus covered with wounds.

On the right St. John the Baptist points to him and says the words of John 3:30, "He must increase, but I must decrease." The lamb at his feet refers to another of his sayings, "Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The lamb's cross and the chalice remind the viewer that the Lamb takes sin away precisely through the sacrifice of the Cross, of which the Eucharist is a memorial and participation.

On the left, St. John the Evangelist comforts the Virgin Mary as a diminutive Mary Magdalene raises her hands in prayer. Before her is the ointment jar that is her attribute.

More of the Crucifixion

Source: Wikimedia Commons