Likely one of the most famous and renown depictions of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in art, is the 1632 painting by Diego Velazquez entitled Jesus Christ Crucified, or simply Christ Crucified. The painting has likely been reprinted millions of times over, and it's quite likely that most Christians and non-Christians alike have seen it least once in their lives. Today the original masterpiece hangs in the Museo del Prado, a Spanish museum located in Madrid. Art critics from around the world continue even to this day to be in awe of how the artwork seems to masterly infuse a perfect balance of nobility, serenity, humility, and dignity. The painting was completed during the peak of Velazquez's career as an artist, with him having studied the various elements of the physical human form as a student in Rome. The anatomic balance that Jesus' body possesses is quite astonishing, as it seems life like and perfectly well proportioned almost like a photograph.
With regard to the colors in the painting, you have a black or very dark smoke colored backdrop, which we can assume was meant to depict a starless night sky. This dark backdrop is great because it brings the cross and Jesus Christ himself into perfect focus, with nothing else within the painting that could potentially distract the viewer. I have had the privilege of viewing this painting in real life, and what I find absolutely astonishing, is the level of almost photograph like detail that it possesses. For example the wood grain on the cross itself is so detailed that it's hard to imagine how such a thing was even painted. The cross even has several knots in the wood, as well as extremely realistic looking cracks that were caused when the spikes or nails were hammered into place. The blood streaks on the wood of the cross are also exceptionally realistic looking in both color and texture. Even close up the dripping or running blood has a very wet and shiny look to it.
As far as Jesus' body in concerned, he's painted with a very light complexion, as if he were a northern European. His skin and muscle tone are amazingly realistic, with the shadows and light following his contours perfectly. What stands out for me personally, are the hands and feet. They are both so perfectly painted that again they look totally real, as if they were from an old photo. Even his fingernails give off a shine that is truly remarkable. Jesus in this artwork is considered a partial or near full nude, and yet the painting gives off no feeling of vulgarity whatsoever. It's something that is indeed taken for granted by the viewer, but one must not forget how difficult it is to paint emotion and an atmosphere into a work of art such as this. Obviously Jesus has a flowing white loin cloth tied around his waist, covering any chance of the great painting being explicit. Regarding the realism, it's not clear if the Romans crucified people clothed or in the partial nude.
The painting, which in Spanish is called Cristo Crucificado, is oil on canvas. It's dimensions are sixty seven inches by ninety eight inches, making it quite a large piece. As soon as I get the proper copyright permissions, I will place a photo of the painting here on our website. Until then there are numerous places online that host the painting in high resolution, such as Wikipedia, so be sure to view it. You can also just type in the title of the painting and author within any search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, and you will see it within their image archives section. For those of you who plan to travel to Madrid Spain sometime in the future, then I would encourage you to swing by the Museo del Prado, and view the painting in real life. This museum is also host to other amazing paintings, such as Diego Velazquez's Las Meninas. We would like to thank you for reading through this article, we hope that you enjoyed it. Don't forget to bookmark our site for the future.