In 1885, at the age of 25, Ensor made this large and very unusual drawing, and 2 years later in 1887 he exhibited it as a work of art in its own right at Les Vingt in Brussels. In this drawing, two worlds are blended in in a wild and deliberately chaotic scene that is presented as a 'vision': the world of the sacred and the world of the profane, or of the visionary and the commonplace, or of the gospels and Belgium in the year 1885. It is an artificial construction, an allegory with a critical (social) message.
The figure of Christ on the ass seems a bit lost in the midst of the carnivalesque crowd, the banners and the signboards. It may also be read as a critical view taken by Ensor of the lack of understanding he met with as an artist. In this period, he made more than twenty works devoted to the last days of Christ. Christ Shown to the People is from the same year.
SizeH: 208,1 cm
MediumBlack and brown chalk on paper, mounted on canvas