Le Sueur depicts Christ on the cross, still alive, alone in a rocky and mountainous landscape. Following an older tradition in art, he is represented attached to the cross with four nails. As he hangs dying, blood trickles from his feet and hands onto the cross and the rock of Golgotha, symbolizing the Christian belief that his death cleansed the original sin of Adam, whose skull is displayed below. There is a sense of absolute stillness, broken only by the suggestion that the open-mouthed Christ is pronouncing his last words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). The relatively small size, the delicacy of the brushwork, and the precious support on copper indicate that the painting was intended for private devotion.
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