Christ awaiting the Passion

Detailed dimensions
Height without frame – 110,5 cm
Width without frame – 82,5 cm
Catalogue note author
Justyna Kuska


The painting depicting Christ awaiting the Passion was made around 1510-1515 in a workshop in Lesser Poland, most likely by Cracovian painter Marcin Czarny or his son Mikołaj, also a painter. The funder of the work was an anonymous noblewoman, probably a widow, presented at the bottom part of the composition. The painting served as a votive image, i.e. it was funded as a bidding or thanksgiving votive offering for the favours received by the donor. The representation of Christ stripped of his garments, with a crown of thorns on his head and a body covered with bloody sweat, who is sitting on a rock, awaiting the Passion, does not originate from the text of the gospel. The popularisation of the theme in the panel painting of the early 16th-century Lesser Poland was influenced by contemporary at that time devotional literature, telling the story of the Passion, i.a. like that published in 1507 in the Nuremberg publishing house of Ulryk Pinder and: "Speculum passionis domini Ihesu Christi" as well as slightly later devotional literature, as written in the second quarter of the 16th century, and "Dominican Meditations." In both works there is a description of the last moments before the Crucifixion of Christ, who, awaiting his Passion, was to sit on a rock "while the cross was being prepared for him". Similar approaches to the theme can be found on the altar predella in the church in Sromowce Niżne and on one of polyptych fields in the church in Szydłowiec, which, according to Jerzy Gadomski, might have been created in the same workshop as the work in question. The central figure of the painting, in both compositional and ideological terms, is Christ. Mary, accompanying him, depicted in the type of Our Lady of Sorrows, whose chest is pierced with the "sword of sorrows" referring to the prophecy of the old man Simeon, spoken during presentation of Christ in the temple. Simeon, with the words "A sword will pierce through your own soul," announced Mary's suffering, and thus the future Passion of Christ. The figures of the two holy martyrs – bishop Stanislaus and deacon Stephen – probably refer to the funder of the painting, who might have influenced the iconographic programme of the work. The work was maintained several times – in 1957-1958 by the Cracow MRW [Monument Restoration Workshop] and in 1995 by Małgorzata Schuster-Gawłowska of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow.

Persons related to work

How to cite?

Justyna Kuska, "Christ awaiting the Passion", [in:] "The Sacred Lesser Poland Heritage", 2023, source:

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