We know what happened to his body; he was buried in a borrowed tomb provided by a secret admirer, Joseph of Arimathea. We know what happened to his clothes; they were divided up by the soldiers who crucified him. But what happened to the crown of thorns that was cruelly, mockingly placed on Jesus’ head?
According to French painter Eugene Delacroix, Jesus’ crown of thorns ended up in the hands of a young man who was there when Jesus’ body was laid to rest. Delacroix’s painting “The Lamentation” shows a group of mourners carrying Jesus’ body to the tomb. In the center foreground of the piece a young man kneels down gingerly holding Jesus’ crown of thorns.
This remarkable painting is featured prominently in an exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art entitled, “Delacroix’s Influence – The Rise of Modern Art from Cezanne to van Gogh.”
Delacroix’s guiding principle was “Paint what you remember.” In other words, instead of trying to paint every detail of a scene exactly, paint what makes an impression on your mind. This is why Delacroix is considered a major influence in the rise of Modern Art.
The exhibit shows that Delacroix not only was a master in depicting the tiniest details in his paintings but he also had an amazing ability to highlight the things that captured his imagination. It also makes a pretty compelling case for Delacroix’s important influence on many generations of artists that followed him.
The exhibit closes on January 10, 2016. If you are not a Delacroix expert it’s a good idea to start your visit to the exhibit by viewing the 14-minute video in the small theater.
The Bible does not mention what happened to Jesus’ crown of thorns. A good summary of the history and travels of the crown can be found here.
Bonus Delacroix paintings