Entry of Christ into Jerusalem

Creation date
fresco mounted on canvas
70 3/4 x 121 in.
Credit line
Gift of G. H. A. Clowes and Elijah B. Martindale
Accession number
Currently On View In
Irving M. Fauvre Gallery - C200
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Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

This fresco of the entry of Christ into Jerusalem is a detached wall painting from the Mozarabic hermitage of San Baudelio, near Casillas de Berlanga, in north central Spain. The church itself was constructed in the early 11th century, in what was then an unstable and heavily fortified frontier between Christian- and Muslim-controlled territories. The interior was painted about one hundred years later with two cycles of fresco decorations. The upper walls were illustrated with a series of radiantly colored narratives from the life of Christ, two of which are now in the IMA: this one and The Marriage at Cana. The lower walls were covered with hunt scenes and exotic animals, motifs that demonstrate the receptivity of Spanish Christians to the richness and refinement of Islamic court art.

Christ makes his entry into Jerusalem on the backs of an ass and her foal, followed by a procession of seven haloed disciples. The biblical multitude who greeted him at the gates of the city is represented by two small figures who lay branches at his feet. Others peer out from behind the stylized masonry of Jerusalem’s walls and towers as Christ raises his hand to bless them.

Mozarabs were Spanish Christians living under Muslim rule who adopted certain aspects of Arab culture.