The figure of Christ being scourged is based on Laocoön, which was dug up in Rome in 1506, while the two ruffians can be traced back to the tyrannicide figures placed in the courtyard at the Palazzo Madama in Rome in the early sixteenth century. However, it was not just for formal reasons that the artist chose these ancient figures as models for his composition. There were good thematic reasons as well. Pliny the Elder for example described the Laocoön group as an exemplum doloris, as an exemplary presentation of pain. Even the Counter-Reformation, which was generally rather hostile to antiquity, advised artists to use Laocoön as a model in depicting the suffering Christ.
Partially gilded silver
H. 13,8 cm, B. 10,2 cm, T. 1 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Kunstkammer
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