The work is an ancient replica of the similar painting by Guercino today preserved in England at Corsham Court. The canvas, of excellent quality, deals with a fairly widespread devotional subject in the climate of the late Counter-Reformation aimed at soliciting meditation on the theme of passion purged of excesses of patheticism. The cultural side is the classicist one of the Bolognese school of the second half of the century.
In the Jesi painting the concentration of the compositional elements is supported by the strongly contrasted use of the luminous elements, today not fully revealed, which enhance the brightness of the very white flesh of the child emerging from a dark and dramatic backdrop. While the light in the foreground cuts the main figure transversely from above, an auroral light strikes the background landscape and defines the contours of the turreted city overlooking a stretch of water that reverberates its reddish glow.
On the left of the painting an unusual representation of the terrestrial globe clarifies the theological assumption of the image, aimed at suggesting the regenerating effect of the two sacramental actions of the Passion, to which the cross and the nails allude, and of Baptism overshadowed by the river course in the background.
The Child, with an intense and meditative expression, appears triumphant in the exhibition of the instruments of the Passion and softens their emotional impact with a candid and plump physicality.