Christ Crowned with Thorns

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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In a guardroom that looks more like a Flemish tavern than a prison, a crown of thorns is being placed on Christ’s head. This humiliating moment, recounted in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John, was one of a number of such episodes in the lead-up to Christ’s crucifixion. Here, the henchmen wear contemporary dress, giving the scene an air of realism that was unusual for the time.

David Teniers the Younger is best known today for his representations of everyday life, but he also took on history subjects. He painted this scene on a copper plate, as its smooth surface was well suited to his highly finished painting technique and it preserved the vividness of the colours. The exceptionally large format of this copper plate suggests that the picture was a collector’s cabinet piece – a reminder that Teniers painted for a clientele far removed from the roguish characters he depicted.

The National Gallery, London



Christ Crowned with Thorns




oil on copper


H 56.8 x W 77 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from the collection of Willem Baron van Dedem, 2017

Work type



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