Carlo Dolci, as this canvas shows, was the most subtle painter of devotional subjects in seicento Florence. Characterised by Baldassari as 'una delle versioni più alte di questo tema sfruttatissimo' of the artist, it is, she notes, doubtless one of the various autograph treatments ('più originali') of the subject recorded in general terms by Dolci's first and most authoritative biographer, Filippo Baldinucci (Notizie dei professori del disegno, Florence, 1846 edition, V, p. 356). Baldassari, who comments on the 'bella esecuzione pittorica' of the picture, suggests a date in the early 1640s, which would make this the earliest of a series of closely interrelated, yet subtly different, treatments of the theme, all of roughly the same size and on the same support, canvas: that in Palazzo Pitti, dated 1646 and first owned by Cardinal Carlo de' Medici (d. 1666), in which a rope hangs over Christ's shoulders; that at Pommersfelden, in which the crown of thorns is very similar to that in the picture, but in which the face is more evenly and thus less dramatically lit; an inscribed variant in a Modenese collection; a second later canvas in the Palazzo Pitti, in which the detail is less sharp and the scourge marks on the torso more prominent; and the haunting late picture in the Galleria Corsini, Rome, in which the flow of blood across the forehead is more marked (Baldassari, nos. 67, 69, 68, 70 and 71 respectively). The subject clearly had a particular poignancy, both for the artist and for his patrons; but the way his pictures of it follow in sequence, subtly varied and given differing visual emphasis, was wholly characteristic of Dolci and can also be followed, for example, in the sequence of his pictures of the Adoration of the Magi (Baldassari, nos. 8-11).