The Holy Face | MSK Gent
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The Holy Face, ca. 1953

  • oil paint, panel
  • 99 x 72 cm
  • Inv. 1960-O

© SABAM Belgium 2023

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The Holy Face shows the face of Christ pictured on Veronica’s cloth. Tradition has it that during the ‘way of the cross’, a woman wiped the sweat and blood from Christ’s face. The imprint left on the cloth was considered the only true portrayal of Christ. The woman was only later given the name Veronica, which is a corruption of the Latin-Greek ‘vera eikon’, meaning ‘the true depiction’. The French painter Georges Rouault drew inspiration from both biblical stories and contemporary events to express human suffering and the injustice of the world. Christ, as the personification of this human suffering, appears repeatedly in his oeuvre. Rouault is known to have painted no less than eight different versions of The Holy Face.


Georges Rouault RKD
Paris 1871 - Paris 1958
painters (artists)AAT

Title The Holy Face
Date ca. 1953
Period 20th century
Location France TGN
Signatures, inscriptions, and markings signatures (names) bottom right: G. Rouault
Collection paintings AAT
Object type oil paintings (visual works) AAT
Inventory number 1960-O
Current whereabouts Work on display
IIIF Manifest
Art & Architecture Thesaurus 300055874 religious symbolism AAT
Keywords Iconclass 11D Christ Iconclass
11D3121 'Vera Icon', held up by Veronica Iconclass
11HH female saints Iconclass
73 New Testament Iconclass
73C public life of Christ: from his baptism until the Passion Iconclass
73D4 from Pilate's palace to Golgotha: the procession to Calvary (Matthew 27:31-33; Mark 15:20-22; Luke 23:26-33; John 19:17) Iconclass
School / Style Expressionist (style) AAT
Modernist AAT
D'Ensor à Magritte dans les collections du Musée de Gand (exposition Lodève, Musée de Lodève-Hôtel du Cardinal de Fleury, 19 novembre 2004 - 27 février 2005) / Maïthé Vallès-Bled, Robert Hoozee, Johan De Smet, Helke Lauwaert, Bruno Fornari. - Lodève : Musée de Lodève, 2004 ; Milano : Mazzotta, 2004 (p. 150-151, cat. 39)
Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent : Catalogus schilderkunst ; Deel I: 14de - 18de eeuw ; Deel II: 19de - 20ste eeuw / Robert Hoozee, Johan De Smet, Bruno Fornari, Ruth Monteyne. - Gent : Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent, 2007 (dl. II, p. 278-279 (ill.))
Kunstkammer Rau : Das inszenierte Ich ; Porträts seit 1500 (Ausstellung ' Kunstkammer Rau : Schau mich an! Porträts seit 1500' Remagen, Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, 17.05.2013 - 04.05.2014) / Oliver Kornhoff, Susanne Blöcker, Nicole Birnfeld. - Berlin : Kerber Verlag, 2013 ; Remagen : Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, 2013 (p. 13)
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