The reproach of Christ - Matthias Grunewald. 109 x 74.3 cm
This painting was written as an epitaph for Apollonia von Kronberg. She was the sister of the knight Johann von Kronberg, who managed the residence of the Archbishop of Mainz in the city of Aschaffenburg.
As a theme for his work, the master used an unusual, not often found in traditional church painting plot - the reproach of Christ. This is an episode from the Bible that colorfully describes the moment that followed Judas's betrayal. Guards sent by the Sanhedrin arrest Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane as a dangerous rebel inciting a riot against Rome, which then owned Palestine.
The peaceful preacher was beaten and humiliated, equated him with criminals and thieves, insulted, despite the fact that he did not show resistance and humbly accepted the blows. This made the dumb and cruel people even more angry and angry.
It was this moment that the German master chose for his canvas. His work reflected the best trends of Renaissance art. He used complex compositions and chose extraordinary themes for his paintings, giving the canvases dynamism and spectacularity with precise and precise use of active colors.
A complex topic required the same unusual composition. The artist chose a circular type, placing many figures in action on the space of the picture. As a result, the canvas really seems moving, because each figure interacts with the rest of the characters.
The bright figure of Jesus Christ sitting with his hands bound and blindfolded is surrounded by real monsters. These evil creatures with distorted ugly faces beat a defenseless person and literally revel in their cruelty.
Having played a significant role in the history of Christ, Joseph of Arimathea, who later gave his tomb to the dead son of God, humblely begs the self-righteous face of the guard to spare a peaceful and not resisting person, but they do not even pay attention to him.
Active action on the canvas is emphasized by a skillful selection of colors. All figures, except for Christ, are made in a warm reddish-ocher color scheme with yellowish accents and a predominance of dark tones. But the figure of Jesus is dressed in a tunic of a cool blue hue. This emphasizes his detachment from earthly life and the future resurrection and ascension.
This picture is a symbol of human inertness and beast-likeness, a kind of last tribute of the artist to Christ. It is not surprising that he chose this theme for the picture, which was intended to be the epitaph.