Christ carrying the Cross while hurt by the nails
Year mention: 1617
Not corresponding to Scriptures

The depiction of Jesus carrying the cross with two beams fitted with nails which hurt him is a recent invention not approved by the commentators

Molanus, Johannes
Frostispiece of Molanus, De historia sanctarum imaginum et picturarum (1617), Antwerp, Gasparus Bellerus
Frontispiece of Molanus, De historia sanctarum imaginum et picturarum (1617), Antwerp, Gasparus Bellerus
Augsburg, Staats- und Stadtbibliothek — Th H 1475. Digital Reproduction: München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, 2015.

In book 2, chapter 28, Molanus continues the discussion started in the previous chapter on images that contain an error but do not pose a real danger, in this chapter the main focus is on iconographies regarding Jesus Christ. The chapter thus fits in the greater scheme created by the author in the work in which he categorises images and the errors they contain, whether these are to be condemned or not, and according to what or whom. In general, Molanus argues that paintings containing the discussed errors do not have t be removed, as long as the provincial council of the Church does not decide otherwise.
The first example of such iconography is a depiction of Christ on the way to Calvary bearing the cross on his back in which the cross was fitted with nails hurting his feet. Molanus does not consider this to be a dangerous error since it is clear to all that this is a simple mistake.

“In some fairly recent paintings, our Saviour is depicted carrying a Cross on his back with two beams fitted with nails which, as he walks, strike his feet in front and behind, and injure them. But this recent fiction is unknown to all competent men.”

“Appinguntur in recentioribus aliquot picturis Salvatori nostro crucem bailanti afferes duo clavati, qui pedes eius ante et retro inter procedendum offendunt et vulnerant. Quod velut recens sigmentum a doctis omnibus ignoratur.”

Cross, Jesus Christ, Passion of Christ, Road to Calvary

Date mention

Historical Location

Iconclass Number

Molanus, De historia sanctarum imaginum et picturarum (1617), book 2, ch. 28, 104

Molanus 1996, 201.

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