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Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century
Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century - Sculpture Style Renaissance Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century - Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century - Renaissance Antiquités - Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century
Ref : 108916
35 000 €
Period :
11th to 15th century
Provenance :
Italy, Tuscany
Medium :
Carved and polychromed wood
Dimensions :
l. 37.4 inch X H. 43.31 inch
Sculpture  - Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century 11th to 15th century - Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century Renaissance - Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century Antiquités - Christ on the Cross - Italy  Late 15th century
Galerie Alexandre Piatti

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Christ on the Cross - Italy Late 15th century

This splendid sculpture of Christ on the Cross, dating from the very end of the 15th century, is of rare finesse. This representation was a common topos during the Renaissance, and many artists tried their hand at it. We're going to present the work of a few of them, which has enabled us to better understand the influences of the various representations, and which, in turn, allows us to affirm that this work comes from a Florentine workshop.
These Christs, mostly in wood or bronze, can be found throughout Europe. The first revolution began with Giotto's painting of the crucifix, which broke away from the Byzantine tradition. This was followed by Brunelleschi's sculptural version, which historian Luciano Bellosi described as the first Renaissance-style work in the history of art.
Pisano made a wooden version in which he tilted the head to one side, but Christ's perizonium is longer than Brunelleschi's, who had decided to depict Christ naked in order to add a fabric perizonium on top.
As for Donatello, he made two very different versions of Christ, the first in wood but of medieval inspiration, his wooden perizonium is very long and covers one knee, leaving the other visible in a kind of forward movement. Whereas his second sculpture is in bronze, made to adorn the cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua, and this time the Christ is muscular, the proportions of his body are not the same and are more realistic than his wooden sculpture. His bronze perizonium is very short, so we can see that sculptural trends are evolving rapidly.
In the last quarter of the 15th century, a number of large family workshops in Italy specialized in the creation of crucifixes. The orders were for churches, but also for private places of worship. This took place mainly in and around Florence. Among these families were the Del Tasso family (Fransceco and Leonardo), the Sangallos (Giuliano, Antonio il Vecchio and Francesco) and the brothers Giuilano and Benedetto da Maiano.
Michelangelo made a crucifix that can be seen in Florence's Bargello museum. Both Michelangelo and Donatello were the masters of their time, and other artists were inspired by their work. That's why we can see many similarities with our work, such as the treatment of the musculature.
A crocifisso that resembles ours in overall body shape is that made by Benedetto da Maiano. Both have their heads almost in line with their arms, and are muscular, with ribs showing in places. Their knees are slightly bent and their feet are one on top of the other. The big difference is that Benedetto da Maiano made his Christ nude so that he could add a cloth perizonium on top.
Giuliano da Sangallo, a Florentine artist, also dabbled in the art of crucifissi. His most famous can be seen at Villa Quiete, near Florence. What's remarkable in this work is the treatment of the body, which is very realistic: we can see tendons as well as muscles and ribs on the torso, armpits and also on the shins. He's made of wood, but his perizonium is made of fabric and his wavy hair is openwork.
In our case, the polychromy is original, he is quite tall and the proportions and musculature are quite realistic. The sculpture is in the round and all sides are carved, a choice made by the artist who could have chosen not to carve the back, as his back against a cross is not visible, which clearly demonstrates his virtuosity.
It's made up of three parts: its body and each of its arms, but for all that, its arms are not articulated like some models.
His perizonium is made of wood; on one side, the drapery is rectilinear, a tradition and aestheticism corresponding to the medieval period, while on the other side, it seems to float somewhat in a movement typical of the Renaissance.
His head, lowered and turned to the right, is almost in line with his arms. He does not appear to be swaying, or writhing in pain, though a slight contrapposto is visible due to the posture of his knees. His hair is very worked and openworked, parted in curly locks that reveal his ears. This is quite rare, as most artists don't show their Christ's ears. However, the one on the left is finely cut, while the one on the right is only composed of the general shape, without being hollowed out. His beard, a symbol of wisdom, is separated into two parts. Leonardo del Tasso, a late 15th-century sculptor in Florence, fashioned the beards of his Christs in the same way.
His eyes are half-open and his mouth is closed, proof that he has just breathed his last. His thin nose accentuates his deep-set eyelids. He bears the stigmata of the crown of thorns, which we can see through the bleeding on his forehead.
Her hands are exceptionally graceful, her fingers long and slightly tense, and her nails exceptionally fine. The skin around her nails covers them, giving an impressive realism. The same phenomenon can be seen on her feet, where the skin folds over the place where the nail should have been. The artist has paid attention to every detail of her work to make it as realistic as possible.
As for the body, the back, arms and torso are slightly muscular, but the ribs remain visible, particularly at the back, to reproduce the tension of the body during the crucifixion. His legs are bent forward and his feet are pressed together.
There are three types of representation of Christ:
-Christus triumphans, which can be found as early as the 5th century.
-Christus patiens, which appeared in the 10th century.
-The Christus dolens, of which ours is one, appearing during the Renaissance, in which the figure of Christ is depicted with eyes closed, head resting on his shoulder and wounds still visible, such as the wound on his right flank caused by the Roman centurion's spear.
We can feel the humanism movement through this sculpture, which places Man and his values at the center of thought, with Man above the divine.
With all these examples of similar works, we understand that the artist who made our work must have lived in Tuscany, and must have frequented the studios of these various artists to draw inspiration for his masterpiece.

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Galerie Alexandre Piatti


Wood Sculpture Renaissance