Diego Velázquez: Christ Crucified



By: Jack Terzian


For over a year, I had this painting as the lock screen on my phone. It is currently my favorite depiction of Christ Crucified.


I believe that it captures the humility, kingship, and solemnity of His passion all in one.

The black background brings to the forefront the truth about the faith: that His crucifixion is at the center.


The sorrow in which he hangs His head, shows so vividly His love amidst all the shame.

In researching the painting, I found it interesting to learn that artist, Diego Velázquez used the Contrapposto posture. I believe that this posture captures the beauty of the Body of Christ, and also shows His power, that leaning slightly, He is comfortable, yet immovable. A similar position is found in Michaelangelo’s David, the Earthly king before the true King of Heaven and Earth.


The blood which runs from his hands and side is very realistic, and somewhat grim in nature. It is not overly dramatic, yet it is not understated either. I believe it shows the gruesome reality of nails being driven through the hands of Christ. I also observe the hands clenched inward as one would expect with nails driven through them, and it strikes a nerve in me, to experience that discomfort.


Christ’s nakedness here brings about the truth of the humiliation he received. He looks clearly stripped. His loins, however, are protected by a somewhat regal-looking cloth. I believe this was for the viewer, that they may recognize the regality and overall beauty of what this sacrifice was.


I also admire the detail of the Titulus Crucis, or INRI above the cross. The detail of the lettering in Hebrew, Greek and Latin looks golden in a way. As though it was something specially prepared for Jesus, the Christ of the Earth.


Overall, the glow emanating from His head represents the truth of all this, that this is God, the sacrificial lamb that was crucified for us. Though he was reduced to meat by his murderers, he never lost His glory as King of all mankind. And in rising again, destroyed the cross and all it represented, and gave us all new life!

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