Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
Gustav Doré – Christ Leaving the Praetorium
After his conviction Jesus leaves the Praetorium to commence his journey to Golgotha, where he was to be crucified. The Praetorium was the building of the Roman governors over Jerusalem. Soldiers have a hard time controlling the bewildered crowd. A man holds the cross.
This Prétoire in Nantes is an almost identical copy of the painting in Strasbourg, which Doré made between 1867 and 1872. The Strasbourg canvas is even larger, measuring 6 x 9 meters.
Doré’s reputation as a “preacher painter” was established in the last third of his career, after his famous illustrations for the Holy Bible in 1866. A short while later, he undertook a number of spectacular religious works.
This illustration comes from the book “Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry”.
Christ Leaving the Praetorium and the Road to Calvary are represented in the manuscript on two facing pages. Pontius Pilate has delivered Christ to the mob to be crucified, and soldiers lead Him away. In the entrance of the Praetorium is a naked man in chains, who represents one of the thieves to be crucified with Christ and who reappears in the Road to Calvary.
The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry is the most famous and possibly the best surviving example of French Gothic manuscript illumination, showing the late International Gothic phase of the style. It is a book of hours: a collection of prayers to be said at the canonical hours. It was created between c. 1412 and 1416 for the extravagant royal bibliophile and patron John, Duke of Berry, by the Limbourg brothers.