“The Way to Calvary” is one of the most famous paintings of the founder of the dynasty of Dutch painters Peter Brueghel the Elder. It refers to the Brussels period of the artist. The composition of the canvas is quite traditional and was used, among other things, by Bruegel's contemporaries - for example, Peter Artsen.
The painting depicts a classic biblical plot - the path of Christ to the Execution Ground. This plot is very popular among painters of that time - for example, a picture of a similar theme was painted by the artist’s son, Peter Brueghel the Younger.
In Brueghel's interpretation, a popular gospel story is a cluster of many people. Among them are both direct participants in the unfolding action, and curious citizens. Such an interpretation is typical for the Bruxelles period of Brueghel's work. Christ is depicted in the center of the picture - and at the same time lost among other human figures. In the same way, the main characters of the canvas are difficult to distinguish in the painting “Beating the Babies” or “The Sermon of John the Baptist”.
It is believed that in this way the artist emphasized the invisibility of an event, even of world significance, in everyday life. In the picture, a mocking crowd is opposed to the numerous, diverse and inconspicuous figure of one person - Christ, bearing his cross.
In this episode, Brueghel made a conscious departure from the canonical text of the Bible. According to the New Testament, part of the way the cross was carried by a certain Simon of Cyrene. In the interpretation of Brueghel, the Cyrene is also present, as inconspicuous as the rest of the characters. Soldiers drive him away from the cross pike.
There is also a certain political component. Bruegel describes the scene as contemporary to him. As if the Spanish soldiers who owned Flanders in those years lead to the crucifixion of the young Flemish Christ.
Portrait of Chaliapin Kustodiev