Stories of Christ’s childhood and adolescence became increasingly popular during the Counter-Reformation because they were easily understood by a broad public. Rather than taking a story from the Bible, Zurbarán appears to have invented this subject, in which Jesus pricks himself on a crown of thorns he is weaving, foretelling his later torment at the Crucifixion. Despite the grand scale and monumental figures, the work has remarkable intimacy and quietness, emphasizing such details as the Virgin’s tears.
CMA, December 1960: Year in Review, cat. no. 70, illus.,pp.238-39.
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sept 14-Dec 10, 1987. ZURBARAN.
Réunion des Musés Nationaux (orgnaizer). Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris (9/22/2005 - 1/2/2006) and the Neue Nationalgalierie, Berlin (1/28/2006 - 4/23/2006): "Genie et folie en Occident: Une histoire de la mélancolie"
The Frick Collection (November 8, 2006 - January 28, 2007): "Masterpieces of European Painting from The Cleveland Museum of Art", exh. cat. no. 10, p. 52-55.
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage (March 29, 2007 - July 8, 2007): "Masterpieces of European Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art"
|Until 1820||Probably the Count of Walterstorff [1755-1820]1|
|1821||(Probably Walterstorff sale, Laneuville, Paris, March 26-27, 1821, no. 65, sold to Laneuville)2|
|After 1821-1960||Various private collections in France|
|1960||(François Heim, Paris, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)|
|1960-||The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio|
1The Count of Walterstorff was the Minister of Denmark to the French court. The 1987 Zurbarán catalogue raisonné by Jeannine Baticle notes that “it is not unlikely” that the Cleveland picture is the one that appears in the Walterstorff sale due to the matching dimensions and description. However, the circumstances of his acquisition of the painting are unknown.
2The Zurbarán likely failed to sell and was effectively bought in by Jean-Louis Laneuville, a painter who also held auctions and compiled sale catalogues, including this one. This scenario is more likely than that which proposes that the painting was purchased by collector Ferdinand Laneuville, whose posthumous sale in 1866 at Hôtel Drouot included no works by Zurbarán.
Baticle, Jeannine. Zurbarán. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987.
Delenda, Odile, and Almudena Ros de Barbero. Francisco de Zurbarán 1598-1664. Madrid: Fundación Arte Hispánico, 2009.
François Heim, letter to Henry S. Francis, July 5, 1960, in CMA curatorial file.
Gállego, Julián, and José Gudiol. Zurbarán, 1598-1664. New York: Rizzoli, 1977.
Iacono, Margaret. Masterpieces of European Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art. New York: The Frick Collection, 2006.
M. Laneuville, M. Moreau, M. Lacoste, and Coquille. Tableaux du meilleur choix. 1821.