The center of this painting depicts a scene from the Passion of Christ, the series of events leading to His crucifixion. After Jesus is sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, Roman soldiers mock him and crown him with thorns. This central motif was painted by Simon de Vos (1603-1676).
Each of the magnificently rendered flowers has thorns or prickles--a direct symbolic relationship to the subject. Not only are the flowers rendered with botanical accuracy but also with tremendous sensitivity to their individual nature. Each bloom stretches toward the light, its tendrils curling outside the geometry of the garland swag. They are the most tender ex votos--ever fresh, the purest symbols of fervent prayer. From the late 1630s through the mid-1640s, Daniel Seghers (1590-1661) executed twenty flower garland paintings for the Church of St. Charles Borromeo in Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. This painting presumably was part of that commission.
A Garland of Flowers Surrounding a Mocking of Christ
January 31, 2006