The Way of the Cross

Scrovegni Chapel, Padua

Luke 23:27 says the crowd following Jesus to Calvary included many of his women followers, but Giotto pictures only his mother Mary. As a touch of pathos, one of the crowd holds her back as she looks tearfully to her son. He in turn looks back to her, oblivious to the shouting crowd. This exchange becomes a feature of later imagery, notably in the "Stations of the Cross," where it appears as the fourth station.1

One member of the crowd prods Jesus forward with a rod. This is also an invention of the artist not mentioned in the gospels.

View this image in full resolution.
Read more about images of the Way of the Cross.

Photographed at the chapel by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

1 See this explanation of the "Stations of the Cross." There also individual examples of the exchange such as this altarpiece in Cáceres Cathedral and this painting in Rome's Santa Maria Maggiore, both from the 16th century.