About this artwork

This etching is based on Ensor’s vast 1888 painting of the same subject. It shows the annual carnival in Brussels where a tiny figure of Christ on a donkey is swamped by a bulging mass of protestors with banners, carnival masks, and wearing contemporary dress. It is a modern reworking of the story of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. Ensor was an atheist, but he used Christian motifs to express his contempt for what he saw as an increasingly inhumane world of political and social injustice. A number of the figures in the crowd are recognisable and include some of his friends and members of his family. The figure of Christ is a partial self-portrait; Ensor identified with Jesus as a victim of mockery, and a symbol of the poor and oppressed.

Updated before 2020

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  • artist:
  • title:
    L'Entree du Christ a Bruxelles [The Entry of Christ into Brussels]
  • date created:
    1896
  • materials:
    Etching on paper
  • measurements:
    Image size: 24.80 x 35.60 cm; paper size: 35.00 x 47.20 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1981
  • accession number:
    GMA 2285
  • gallery:
    View by Appointment
  • subject:
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James Ensor

James Ensor