STATION 1. Jesus Is Condemned

Hansa Versteeg: Madonna del Mare Nostrum, Cloak of Love, 2017, oil on canvas, 125 × 125 cm. hansaversteeg.com


Precisely Pilate, the one expected to pass judgment on the most influential person in history, asked himself: What is truth? How human. In our ignorance we struggle to react to what happens in the world and face its manifest challenges.

This iconic, modern Madonna is standing in her full dignity; she has no fear. Her thermal emergency blanket alludes to the many other mothers along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. In that way she is contemporary. At the same time, she is the timeless mother who carries the promise of the future in her arms. She herself has become the question: Will you receive us in your heart?

In the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, Amsterdam’s primary Roman Catholic church, the oil painting Madonna del Mare Nostrum has been placed in front of an altar dedicated to Mary, below a late nineteenth-century wall painting of the first station of the cross (every Catholic church has its own Stations of the Cross), where Jesus is condemned to death. 

Location: The route starts at Prins Hendrikkade 73, in the Church of Saint Nicholas. In 2012 this church was elevated to a ‘basilica minor’ and, together with ten other churches and two synagogues, it is part of the ‘Dutch Museum Churches’, an initiative of the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht. Just like the final location of the route, the Oude Kerk (Old Church), the basilica is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, sailors and the harbor city of Amsterdam. 

text: Anikó Ouweneel