Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    The Mocking of Christ; a group of Jews, including one holding a standard and another a scroll inscribed with a quotation from the Bible, about to set upon the figure of Christ on the ground at centre Pen and black ink with grey, pink, brown and blue wash

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1420-1425 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 181 millimetres
    • Width: 272 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Rowlands 1993
        Inscribed by the artist in black ink on the scroll, "profitisse quis te perkussit" (Vulgate, Matthew xxvi, 68); inscribed on the verso in brown ink, "No. 783 June 28 1862 [sic] from Dr H. Wellesley's Collection (portion sold at Sotheby's this date anonymously) J.C. Robinson"; and in pencil, "No. 1205 John Malcolm and Old Dutch" (both cancelled).
  • Curator's comments

    This sheet is one of the most significant German drawings to have survived from the third decade of the fifteenth century. It has for several decades been associated with the Master of the Worcester 'Christ carrying the Cross', so-called after his painting 'Christ carrying the Cross' of c. 1420-30, formerly in the Worcester Collection, New York, and now in Chicago (Art Institute, inv. no. 1947.79). Benesch was the first to associate the artist with this drawing and other sheets, including 'Study for a Golgotha' (Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, see S.Buck, 'Wendepunkte deutscher Zeichenkunst: Spätgotik und Renaissance im Städel', Frankfurt, 2003, no. 2), 'Three orientals on horseback' (Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett, inv. no. c. 2295) and 'Rider blowing a horn' (Munich, Graphische Sammlung, inv. no. 23839). The artist is noted for his dramatic interpretations of the Passion of Christ, with slight figures shown in contorted positions, which were innovative for the time. In particular, this interpretation of the mocking of Christ with his tomentors in centre stage and the figure of Christ shoved to the ground and barely visible in the centre of the mêlée, is highly unusual. Robert Suckale and Thomas Rainer (2016) proposed that this highly influential master (to whom they also attribute BM 1997,0712.1, which is drawn in a different technique on vellum), is closely associated with and may have been the teacher of the two principal artists of the large and dramatic illuminations in the early volumes of the manuscript 'Ottheinrich Bible' written in a Bavarian dialect commisioned by the Palatine Count Ludwig the Bearded (completed by his successor, Count Ottheinrich). There are strong similarities between the expressive contorted figures in the Chicago painting and the dramatic foreshortened figures of the Master of St Mark and the Master of St Matthew (named after the gospels they illustrated). This drawing probably formed part of a pattern book, because the composition was well known and has been copied in different media.. Mack-Andrick noted that the coloured effect of this sheet is paralleled in the large grisaille of the 'Way to Calvary' by the Master of the Tegernsee 'Tabula Magna', in which pink flesh tones and blue background are used in the same way (Munich Alte Pinokothek, 1438; see R. Suckale, 'Süddeutsche szenische Tafelbilder um 1420-1450: Erzählung im Spannungsfeld zwischen Kult- und Andachtsbild', in W. Harms (ed) Text und Bild, Bild und Text. DFG Symposion 1988. Stuttgart, 1990, p.95). As Jopek and Roller have noted, there is a striking similarity between the facial expressions, proportions of the figures and general brutality of the scene with those of an alabaster group of soldiers casting lots for Christ's robe, made in a central German workshop in c.1450. The group originally formed part of a sculptured altarpiece of the 'Way to Calvary' in the cathedral at Halberstadt, but disappeared from the altarpiece during or shortly after the second world war. It was eventually acquired by the state of Saxony-Anhalt with the Kulturstiftung der Länder and re-united with the altarpiece for which it was designed in 2008. A somewhat later version of Christ and the surrounding group of five standing men was copied either from this sheet or from a related painting, for an altarpiece of 1477, in the cathedral of St Elizabeth at Kassa, formerly in northern Hungary (now Kosice, Czechoslovakia). The 'Mocking of Christ' appears with small variations in a panel within the series of twenty-four scenes from the Passion visible when the wings of this altarpiece are closed. A loose copy of the kneeling figure in the left foreground of this sheet, shown in the reverse sense, is also seen in a drawing done in the workshop of Hans Holbein the Elder in Augsburg in c.1500 (Basel, Kupferstichkabinett, inv. no. u. viii. 21; Falk, 'Basel', p. 89, no. 199, repr.). Even a connection as free as this serves to demonstrate the extent of the influence of the artist known only as the 'Master of the Worcester Carrying of the Cross'.

    Lit from J.Rowlands, 'Drawings by German Artists and Artists from German-speaking regions of Europe in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum: the Fifteenth Century, and the Sixteenth Century by Artists born before 1530', London, BM Press, 1993, no. 11: 'JCR, p. 172, no. 509; Parker, German Schools, p. 26, no. 3, repr.; O. Benesch, Belvedere, 9, ii, 1930, p. 77; L. Baldass, Vienna Jahrbuch, NF, ix, 1935, pp. 39, 45, pl. 19; Benesch, Oesterr. Handz., pp. 18, 42, no. 31, repr.; Oettinger, Tübingen, pp. 112f.; K. Oettinger, Zeitschr.f. Kunstwiss., vii, 1940, pp. 219-22, pl. 3; N. Csánky, Budapest Jahrbuch, x, 1940, p. 71, pl. 52; Stange, x, pp. 55f; Manchester, German Art, pp. I3f., no. 14; Falk, Basel, p. 89, under no. 199; Robert Suckale in Regensburger Buchmalerei, pp. 93ff., repr.; G. Schmidt, Kunstchronik, xl, 1987, pp. 510-11; BM Dürer and Holbein, pp. 22-23, no. 4, repr.'

    Additional lit: J. Mack-Andrick in D.Lüdke et al, 'Grünewald und seine Zeit, exhibition catalogue, Karlsruhe, Kunsthalle, 2007, no. 78; (for further bibliography); N.Jopek and S.Roller, 'Der Halberstädter Kalvarienberg: Versuch einer kunsthistorischen Einordnung', in 'Würfelnde Kriegsknechte aus dem Alabaster-Kalvarienberg Dom und Domschatz Halberstadt', Patrimonia 349, Kulturstiftung der Länder, 2010, p. 80; A.F. Köllermann in 'From Van Eyck to Dürer', exhibition catalogue edited by Till-Holger Borchert, Groeningemuseum, Bruges, 2010, p.351, no.178; Robert Suckale and Thomas Rainer in Brigitte Langer and Thomas Rainer (ed), 'Kunst und Glaube, Ottheinrichs Prachtbibel und die Schlosskapelle Neuburg', exhibition catalogue, Neuburg an der Donau, 2016, pp.40-41 and p. 196, no.5.4.


  • Bibliography

    • Rowlands 1993 11 bibliographic details
    • JCR 509 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (German Roy XVc)

  • Exhibition history

    1961 Oct-Dec, Manchester, German Art 1400-1800, no. 14
    1988 July-Oct, BM, Age of Dürer & Holbein, no. 4
    1990 April-Aug, BM, Treasures of P&D (no cat.) 2007/8 Dec-Mar, Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Grünewald
    2010/11 Oct-Jan, Bruges, Groeningemuseum, From Van Eyck to Dürer
    2016 May - Aug, Neuburg an der Donau, Kunst und Glaube, no.5.4

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


The Mocking of Christ; a group of Jews, including one holding a standard and another a scroll inscribed with a quotation from the Bible, about to set upon the figure of Christ on the ground at centre Pen and black ink with grey, pink, brown and blue wash


The Mocking of Christ; a group of Jews, including one holding a standard and another a scroll inscribed with a quotation from the Bible, about to set upon the figure of Christ on the ground at centre Pen and black ink with grey, pink, brown and blue wash

Image description



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