Christ Entering Jersusalem was created in 1897, in the same year as Gérôme's painting of the Entry into Jerusalem. The sculptural Christ on his donkey appears to the left of the canvas and is greeted at the city gates by St Mary Magdalen, both arms raised, a palm branch in her hand – a composition which was also worked in three dimensions by Gérôme.
The late religious subjects of Gérôme stand in marked contrast to the more sensuous Orientalist nudes for which he was best known. However, the painter-sculptor employs the same careful attention to detail and finish. Gérôme's collaboration with the Siot-Decauville foundry allowed him to explore his painter's fascination with colouration and surface.
G. Ackerman, The Life and Work of Jean-Léon Gérôme, Paris, 1986, pp. 110-112, 280 and 322-323, cat. S. 40 B2