Passion cycle

Passion cycle, in art, the depiction of the last events in the life of Jesus. The Passion was a favorite subject of medieval and Renaissance artists and was considered the most ambitious of projects. The scenes depicted generally include the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the washing of his feet, the Last Supper, the Agony in the garden, the betrayal, the denial of Peter, Jesus before Pilate, the flagellation, the mocking of Jesus, the road to Calvary, the 14 Stations of the Cross (developed in the 14th cent. as a separate Crucifixion cycle), the Deposition, the Pietà (or Lamentation), and the Entombment. The scenes may be represented singly, as in Michelangelo's Pietà, or as a suite, as in Giotto's frescoes in the Arena Chapel at Padua. The artists' interpretations of what was to be represented in each scene were strictly circumscribed by convention and were usually limited to biblical descriptions of the events.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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