The painting measures 48 x 33.2 cm in its original frame. The top is rounded, which was the usual format for private devotional works. Under the influence of Modern Devotion, a movement for religious reform founded during the 14th century, the theme of the Man of Sorrows became extremely popular. For the adherents of Modern Devotion, empathising with the life and above all the suffering of Christ was hugely important. It was precisely because the faithful could identify with the image of the suffering Christ that paintings of this kind became so highly favoured for private devotion. For this reason, the Bouts' painting fully deserves its place in the exhibition Face to face with Death, where the theme of the experiencing of faith and meaning plays a central role.
In the run-up to the exhibition Face to face with Death, the painting has been restored by Laetitia Golenvaux and Véronique Geniets. The exhibition runs from 28 October 2022 to 5 February 2023 at the St John’s Hospital.