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Jesus Mocked by the Soldiers

Large, dark painting of Jesus sitting with three standing soldiers.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Large, dark painting of Jesus sitting with three standing soldiers.




Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)

About this artwork

For this monumental painting, Édouard Manet depicted Jesus Christ at the end of his life, beaten and awaiting crucifixion. The Roman soldiers force him to don a crown of thorns and proffer a reed “scepter” and purple cloak, all intended to ridicule him as “King of the Jews,” a title bestowed ironically by his tormenters. Manet, who painted very few religious subjects, transformed this sacred narrative into a gritty drama that marries realism with theatricality. Shown without a halo, Jesus glows against the dark background. Is he a holy being emanating divine light or a real man posing under a studio spotlight? The painting caused a scandal in its own time for precisely this ambiguity.


On View, Gallery 222


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Édouard Manet


Jesus Mocked by the Soldiers


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Inscribed at lower right: Manet


190.8 × 148.3 cm (74 7/8 × 58 3/8 in.); Framed: 240.1 × 196.9 cm (94 1/2 × 77 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of James Deering

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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