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Christ Crowned with Thorns, c. 1633-39

Matthias Stom

Dutch, c.1600-after 1651
Oil on canvas
43-5/8 x 63-3/8 in. (110.8 x 161 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1977.25.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Dutch by birth, Matthias Stom traveled to Rome where he belonged to an important group of Caravaggisti (followers of Caravaggio) active there in the early seventeenth century. Like Caravaggio, they ranked naturalism and drama high in their pictorial subjects. "Christ Crowned with Thorns" describes a nighttime scene of torment, illuminated by a single candle. Such a device, favored by the Caravaggisti, created the strong effects of light and dark seen here. The immediacy of Christ's suffering and the cruelty of the soldiers results from the arrangement of all hands and faces directed toward the center.

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