About this artwork

Jheronimus Bosch and his art represent a unique phenomenon in art history. From the medieval language of symbols and imaginative interpretation he forged a highly original vision dominated by religious themes with moralizing messages. As a composition the "Bearing of the Cross'” is as unusual as it is audacious. The picture plane is filled with nothing but heads devoid of volume or spatial effects. Good and Evil are juxtaposed here. The serene faces of Christ and Veronica are points of calm amid the chaos. The grotesque mugs are at once caricatured and lifelike. The expressive types illustrate the corruption and stupidity of mankind. As a study of human facial expressions this work is unparalleled. In its palette technique and iconography it is an apotheosis of Bosch'’s artistic originality. The "Bearing of the Cross'” is not only a unique creation in Bosch'’s oeuvre but it also stands as a work unlike anything seen in European painting of the period around 1500.

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About the collection

The Museum of Fine Arts Ghent has a collection of about 9,000 works, from the Middle Ages to the first half of the 20th century. Over 600 works are shown in the museum’s permanent collection presentation. The spotlight is mainly on painting from the Southern Netherlands but print art, sculpture and European painting are also well represented. Moreover, the museum is a knowledge centre for the art of the 19th century, the fin de siècle and the early 20th century.

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