This painting of the Crucifixion of Jesus anachronistically layers a Carthusian monk in front of the cross, meant to emphasize the order’s devotion to the suffering and death of Jesus, as their very motto attests: stat crux dum volivitur orbis (steady the cross in a changing world).

It is likely that this panel was intended for the cell of a monk in an unknown monastery. The Carthusians were particularly devoted to the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ, and devotional images were provided for each monk’s cell. The Carthusian order was founded by Saint Bruno in 1084 with the purpose of providing the strictest separation from the world. The first Carthusians were dedicated to contemplation through silence, prayer, poverty, penance, and almost continuous occupancy of a solitary cell….The artist has not been identified.

Source: Cleveland Museum of Art