The Crown of Thorns

Hendrick ter Brugghen, Detail of The Crowning of Christ
with the Crown of Thorns,
 1620, Statens Museum for Kunst.
At The National Gallery (Statens Museum for Kunst) in Copenhagen one of my absolute favourite paintings is The Crowning of Christ by ter Brugghen.

The depth of that color. That red confronting us in the cloth to a degree that the shock is delaying seeing not just the red lining his eyelid, but the blood too dripping from his forehead. Drips so thick, that they coagulate in heavy strands before us; each strand of the size and length of our fingers.

The dripping blood came to mind when seeing the pen by Ali Ferzat on the day of the Charlie Hebdo-massacre; a drawing hand ripped open by another crown of thorns. In both instances the hands play their own vital part. They may seem to be yielding to a greater power, and so they are, but neither is victimized. They are both acting out of necessity to create a difference. They have taken a responsibility upon them to that shall be done.

Ali Ferzat: Dedicated to all the victims of thought, art and expression.
January 7, 2015.

Neither is begging for our clemency. On the contrary, before we begin ahh'ing and then tsk'ing at seeing the blind and mentally challenged in the mocking crowd, we as beholders are to admit that we belong right to those very ones. 

The painting is a little more than life-sized, and when standing in front of it we reach about to the shoulders of the mocking crowd. As long as we remain standing, doing nothing, we are them or even worse, we should be likened to the ones in actual power in the background, pretending to be free of any responsibility.

Hendrick ter Brugghen, The Crowning of Christ with the Crown of Thorns,
1620, Statens Museum for Kunst.

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