• Cristoforo Solari (fl. 1489–1524), attributed to, Man of Sorrows, c.1500. Marble, 67.5 x 32 cm (26.57 x 12.59 in.) Art Institute, Dayton, OH, inv. 1970.29.

  • Anonymous German or Northern sculptor, Memento Mori, mid-sixteenth century. Boxwood, height 11.4 cm (4.3 in.); with figure released and standing, approx. 20 cm (7.87 in.) Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor. Gift of Albert C. Hooper, inv. no. 41751.

  • Man of Sorrows, late sixteenth century. Polychromed and gilded wood, total height, 227 x 44.5 x 26 cm (7.44 ft. x 17.51 in. x 10.23 in.); crowning sculpture, 73 x 44.5 x 17 cm (28.74 x 17.51 x 6.69 in.) San Trovaso, Venice

  • Paolo Veronese (1528–1588), The Dead Christ Supported by Angels, c.1580–1588. Oil on canvas, 98.1 x 71.4 cm (38.6 x 28.1 in.) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Maria Antoinette Evans Fund, inv. 30.773

  • Bill Viola (b. 1951), Man of Sorrows, 2001. Color video on freestanding LCD flat panel, 48.26 x 38.1 x 15.24 cm (19 x 15 x 6 in.) Duration: 11 minutes, Viola Studios LLC.

  • Battista Franco, Dead Christ Supported by an Angel, c.1550–1555. Pen and brown ink, 166 x 119 mm (6.53 x 4.68 in.) The Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. Laura P. Hall Memorial Fund, 75–241

Passion in Venice

Crivelli to Tintoretto and Veronese

February 11–June 12, 2011

Passion in Venice presents a sacred theme central to the history of Christian Art: Christ as Man of Sorrows.  This devotional image offers the piteous, half-length Savior variously paradoxically standing erect in death, slumped in death and supported by angels, or displaying some pre-resurrection combination of vitality and death.  This portrayal of Christ visualizes Isaiah 53:3: “He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”  Its origins rooted in Byzantium, the figure entered Venetian art in the late Middle Ages after which it flourished locally for centuries, eventually acquiring its own name in dialect, Cristo Passo.  The exhibition will trace the ongoing conventions and artistic permutations of this visual type into modern times.

Drawn from international loans, Passion in Venice examines the rich visual tradition of the sorrowful Christ in Venice through a wide range of representations of the theme across different media, including illuminated manuscripts, paintings, prints, sculpture, and liturgical objects.  The exhibition also will address the issue of how this remarkable theme – the dead Christ beyond space and time – reflected and shaped Venetian piety in the Renaissance and immediately thereafter.

Online Resources:

Full Exhibition Audio Guide

See video of New York Nightly News’ coverage of Passion in Venice:


Listen to Leonard Lopate interview Bill Barcham and Catherine Puglisi, curators of Passion in Venice, on Feb. 16, 2011:


Major support for MOBIA’s exhibitions and programs has been provided by the American Bible Society. Passion in Venice is made possible by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Darlene and Walter Hansen, Robert and Sandra Bowden, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, DEMDACO, Brian O’Neil, Reed and Sarah Bowden, and Graham and Magdalena Laws. Support for the catalog has been provided, in part, by the Robert Lehman Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. This exhibition is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties.