CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

Christ's Head with Crown of Thorns

Oil and tempera on limewood, 28 x 21 cm
Private collection

The representation of Christ's head in this painting is based on the 'vera icon', the true face of Christ. According to the legend, this likeness appeared in a miraculous way on St Veronica's veil after she had used it to wipe the blood and sweat from the Lord on the Road to Calvary. The vera icon was a favourite subject of paintings and graphic works in the late Middle Ages.

The type of image derives from Early Netherlandish painting (Jan van Eyck and Dieric Bouts the Elder).