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Christ Crowned with Thorns by Titian

he Crowning with Thorns is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Titian created during 1542 and 1543. It is now housed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France.

The painting was patron by the confraternity of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan and returned to France after the Napoleonic conquest of the city in 1797.

In The Crowning with Thorns, space is centered in the composition by arraying the figures on a shallow plane demarcate by the wall of a structure.

The Crowning with Thorns or Christ Crowned with Thorns is an oil-on-canvas 1576 painting by Titian is now housed in Alte Pinakothek in Munich. It is a typical piece from his final period and can be compared with an earlier 1542 work of his on the same subject.


The painting of titian was in a lot of ways something for a muse for the painters of 15th and 16th century such as Caravaggio, Velasquez, Rubens and Rembrandt. In which the change of style that Titian has brought has changed how the artist used to think and freeing them from the restraint of balance of renaissance.

The time when titian painted Christ crowned with thorns, it was at the pinnacle of his career. It was the time of high renaissance and he was one of the most proficient painters of Venetian renaissance. It was also the end of his prolific career.

Mannerism was the time when the artist breaks through the calmness and tranquility of renaissance and advancing toward the dynamicity. They want to capture the kinetic movements trapped in time.

The torches in the upper right corner have the torches. The flickering of light is strongly represented by the thickness of white color.


Evident by the stokes in the painting it is visible that Titan used his hands to paint a painting at the end of his career. As you get familiarity and the kind of intimacy you have developed over the years with materials while working for more than a decade.

The painting is quite different from the static and calm paintings of renaissance, its shows agony and power along with energy and movement like a choreography.

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It is almost proto baroque or mannerist which means it is looking towards the baroque. The picture has different figures at different levels. The composition looks like its a dance but a brutal one.


There is a stark contrast between light and dark. The background is dark and the main characters are bright-lit which seem to be representing a theatrics performance.


An interesting observation is that titian was not focused on the blood and gore of the event, its a painful and violent subject, but more on the composition as Christ's body is leaned and little twisted towards left, people around him are arranged in triangulation. The figures are in performance rather than doing a violent act.

The figure in the left is doing a difficult deed but still, there is a lightness in his posture.


The person on the right has lifted his arm with a stick in his one hand and axe in the other, this position looks more like choreography.


All these characteristics remind us of mannerism where painting has figures with elegant but unnatural poses. Colour composition is more leaned towards tertiary colours. The composition of the painting is in such a way that people are more focused and background is blurred or darkened and the space becomes obscure.

This is the time of real spiritual upheaval in Europe and perhaps this what was architect has tried to represent here.

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