Christ stands beside the whipping post with his head lowered. He emerges from the darkness, with light and shade modelling every muscle of his body. Resigned to his fate, he awaits the blows of the ruffians who have not yet begun their work. By presenting a close-up view of Christ the artist in a way places the viewer in the position of the executioner's henchmen. Guido Reni had trained initially in Bologna at the academy of the Carracci. He produced the Frankfurt painting soon after moving to Rome; it demonstrates Reni's recent study of the art of Caravaggio. The young painter followed the latter's striving to achieve the direct presence of the figure, but removes any drastic elements in favour of concentrating on the figure of the Son of God. The artist may have created this work for his Roman patron, Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, a possibility suggested by the whipping post, which is an exact copy of the one revered to this day in the Basilica S. Prassede. Sfondrati was the protector of the associated monastery and belonged to the circles that showed an increased interest in the ancient relics of early Christianity.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
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