The Mocking of Christ

Accession Number

The Mocking of Christ

Eugène Delacroix

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1849

Medium & Support
graphite on medium, slightly textured cream laid paper

8 1/8 in x 7 7/8 in (20.64 cm x 20 cm);14 7/16 in x 19 7/16 in (36.67 cm x 49.37 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of the Lannan Foundation in Honor of the Pelham Family

Label copy
This sketch represents the Mocking of Christ, the moment during Christ’s Passion when Pilate’s soldiers draped him in one of their purple togas, taunted him, and humiliated him. Christ sits, with bowed head; he forms a quiet contrast to the moving figures that surround him. On the left, a standing figure sketched several times in an overlapping fashion draws our attention as a secondary point of interest; the effect is emphasized by an arched structure above the group of soldiers.
The drawing may be related to an entry of Delacroix’s journal in June 1849 in which he lists a Mocking of Christ among the religious subjects he was thinking of taking up. An unfinished version of this sketch, an oil painting, is at the Kunstmuseum Basel. Although the general composition seems to be by Delacroix, most of the figures appear to have been retouched by another hand, possibly that of a collaborator. In 1893 a finished version of this subject was mentioned in a French magazine; its present whereabouts are unknown.
A drawing of the same subject belongs to the collection of the Musée de Picardie in Amiens. Two different sketches on the same sheet show Delacroix experimenting with variant groupings of figures. Comparing the three sketches (ours and the two on the Amiens sheet) shows how Delacroix tries several solutions, strengthening a figure in one drawing and not in the others, adding or deleting some elements. Delacroix also changes the point of view: while our drawing shows the figures head-on, the one at the Musée de Picardie shows the figures from above, with no indication of the architectural details in the background.

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Jesus Christ

1 Related Resource

Christian New Testament
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)

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