Sorrowful Mysteries

If you ever pray the Rosary, and like me you have difficulty meditating on the mysteries without a visual image to focus on, here are some examples you might consider for the Sorrowful Mysteries. Praying the beads as you ponder the events of the crucifixion is recommended by Pope Francis as a spiritual practice during Lent. I’m including these paintings with relevant scripture but without commentary so that your focus is the image itself, rather than the written word. The captions provide basic information about the paintings. For instructions on how to pray the Rosary, see here. Remember you can click on each image for a larger version, and some can be enlarged further with another click if a plus sign appears as your cursor.

 

First Sorrowful Mystery:
The Agony in the Garden

Kneeling down, He began to pray, “Father if it be your will, take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done”…In His anguish he prayed even more intensely, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.  Luke 22:42,44

The agony in the Garden, El Greco ca. 1590, Oil on canvas 104 c.  117 cm. Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio.

The Agony in the Garden, El Greco ca. 1590, Oil on canvas 104 cm. x 117 cm. Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio.

 

Second Sorrowful Mystery:
Scourging at the Pillar

Pilate released Barabbas to them. Jesus, however, he first had scourged; then he handed Him over to be crucified.  Matthew 27:26

Flagellation of Christ, Peter Paul Rubens,  Antwerp, Church of St. Paul.

Flagellation of Christ, Peter Paul Rubens, Antwerp, Church of St. Paul.

 

Third Sorrowful Mystery:
The Crowning with Thorns

Weaving a crown of thorns they fixed it on his head, and placed a reed in His right hand. To make fun of Him they knelt before Him saying: “Hail, King of the Jews.” They spat on Him, and took the reed and kept striking Him on the head.  Matthew 27:29-30

The Crowning with Thorns, Caravaggio 1602, oil on canvas, 127 cm.  166 cm., Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The Crowning with Thorns, Caravaggio 1602, oil on canvas, 127 cm. 166 cm., Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

 

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery:
The Carrying of the Cross

When the soldiers had finished mocking Him, …they led him away to crucify Him. On the way they laid hold of a certain Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and upon him they laid the cross to bear it after Jesus.  Matthew 27:31, Luke 23:26

Christ Bearing the Cross, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 1738, oil on canvas 450 cm. x 517 cm. Sant'Alvise, Venice

Christ Bearing the Cross, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 1738, oil on canvas 450 cm. x 517 cm. Sant’Alvise, Venice

 

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery:
The Crucifixion

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him …Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”…There was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour…and Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”.  Luke 23:33,34,44,46

The Crucifixion panel from the Isenheim Altarpiece, Matthias Grünewald 1516, oil on wood 269 x 307 cm; Musee d'Unterlinden, Colmar, France

The Crucifixion panel from the Isenheim Altarpiece, Matthias Grünewald 1516, oil on wood 269 x 307 cm; Musee d’Unterlinden, Colmar, France

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3 thoughts on “Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. hermitsdoor says:

    Each image uses different textures, lighting, and compositional elements (close focus, versus distinct or obscrured landscape, versus conglomerations of people) to focus our attention on elements of the sorrow.

    We will be in Rome for Passion Week. We are deliberating whether to do the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at St Croce in Gerusalmme (my pick, given the connection to Constintine’s Mom, St. Helena) or the Coliseum with Pope Frances (our travel companions pick). I’m good for both, depending on how long we have to stand in line at the Coliseum… “hold my place, I’m going for wine and pasta…”
    Oscar

    Liked by 1 person

    • jane arney says:

      How wonderful that will be for you! Enjoying your comments on my blog, thanks for taking the time!

      Like

    • jane arney says:

      It’s interesting that you noted that “Each image uses different textures, lighting, and compositional elements (close focus, versus distinct or obscrured landscape, versus conglomerations of people) to focus our attention on elements of the sorrow.”
      Later on it occurred to me that they appear this way on my blog because they were all carefully curated choices on my part to convey a particular emphasis or mood. For example, the Rubens reflects a strong corporeal element for the flagellation; for Christ carrying the cross I wanted a sense of the crowd noise and the distance he had to bear the cross; to impart the agony of the crucifixion, what other choice could it be than Grunewald’s excruciating work? Someone else might choose works with a completely different feeling, but these reflect my personal mental image of the events.

      Like

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