Simon de Vos - Christ carrying the cross

(1603 – Antwerp – 1676)


Christ carrying the cross

Oil on canvas, 58,5 x 84,5 cm

Price: 7.500 €

Simon de Vos began his career as a pupil of Cornelis de Vos (1603-1676), who was mainly active as a portrait painter. In 1620 he became a member of the Antwerp St. Luke’s Guild. At an unknown date he set off on an artist’s journey to Italy. In Rome he came under the influence of the Bamboccianti, a group of painters who devoted themselves to rather crude genre painting and of whom the German painter Johann Liss (1597-1631) in particular left traces in De Vos‘ oeuvre. After his return to Antwerp in 1628, De Vos worked in the workshop of Peter Paul Rubens and was involved in many important commissions.

The present painting is an example for De Vos style during the transition period between two different artistic approaches. The rather thin and dramatically animated figures as well as the intense colours are characteristic. Certain elements such as the mother with the child or the playing kids can be found in various works by the artist.


The subject Christ carrying the cross seems to have been of interest to De Vos. There are several versions of this subject by his hand.[1] One variant, formerly at Christie’s, shows strong parallels with the present picture.[2] One can assume that both paintings were created around the same time. The dating of the variant to “1631” gives us a terminus post quem.

Two other versions of the subject (one of them dated to “1634”) seem to proof that the two mentioned paintings stand at the beginning of the creative process.[3] Both compositions are inverted. The figures move from right to left. New elements such as Jerusalem’s city architecture and its city gate have been added and the staffage differs from the other versions.




[1] A copy was sold in Winterberg in 2005. Attributed to Simon de Vos, Christ carrying the cross, oil on copper, 21,9 x 28,4 cm, Auction Winterberg, 21. Ocober 2005, No. 222.

[2] Simon de Vos, Christ carrying the cross, oil on panel, 59,7 x 92,7 cm, signed an dated „1631“, London, Christie’s, 4. July 1986, No. 15, London, Christie’s, 26. October 1990, No. 74.

[3] Simon de Vos, Christ carrying the cross, oil on copper, 45,7 x 67,3 cm, signed and dated „1634“, London, Christie’s, 30. June 1965, No. 366.

Simon de Vos, Christ carrying the cross, oil on canvas, 47 x 52,5 cm, signed, Valencia, Real Academia de Bellas Artes.