The Infant Christ Bearing the Instruments of the Passion
The Christ child is shown here carrying the cross and other instruments of the Passion, illustrating His sacrifice as a burden carried from birth. The artist based the painting on a widely circulated print by the Flemish artist, Hieronymus Wierix (1553-1619). The print shows implements in the basket which have here been hidden, including the hammer and tongs which secured and removed the nails onto the crucifix, leaving visible only the dice used to gamble over Christ?s garments. The original ?thorny? path and rocky landscape have also been replaced by a flower-strewn floor and dark backdrop, resulting in a more approachable representation intended as a gentle introduction to the Passion, perhaps for a child or nun.