Wolfgang Katzheimer the Elder
The Mocking of Christ, c. 1500
tempera on panel
99.9 x 83.7 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Lord and Lady Gort
The Mocking of Christ was part of the Passion, which is the record of the specific events and suffering of Christ in the hours leading up to his death by crucifixion. These narratives were elaborated upon in Passion plays, as well as in paintings and engravings. This panel by the Franconian artist Wolfgang Katzheimer was likely part of a Crucifixion altarpiece. Using a bold colour scheme and flattened perspective, set with a harsh realism, Katzheimer focuses on the violent treatment of Christ by a group of malicious men, children, and an aggressive dog. Christ’s frontality is highlighted by the red robe, and his grimacing face is meant to evoke in the viewer feelings of compassion and spiritual devotion. Confronted by this violent scene, the viewer also comes face to face with the pitiful gaze of the suffering Christ.