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Panel - Christ bearing the Cross

Christ bearing the Cross

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and painted alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:

    A.16-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Christ, with a forked bears and naked except for a loin cloth, is represented in the centre of the panel facing right, holding the cross over his right shoulder. He is led by a rope which is tied round his waist and held by a figure on the right of the panel. This figure wears a short, low-belted tunic with long sleeves and a 'devil's cap' (a hat with a dragon rising from it) to illustrate his evil nature.

The right-hand figure above the cross presses down on it to increase the burden, while the Virgin Mary on the left supports it.

This panel formed part of the same altarpiece as A.17-1946 and A.18-1946.

Physical description

Christ, with a forked beard and naked except for a loincloth, is represented in the centre of the panel facing right, holding the cross over his right shoulder. He is led by a rope which is tied round his waist and held by a figure on the right of the panel. This figure wears a short, low-belted tunic with long sleeves, and a 'devil's cap' (a hat with a dragon rising from it). The Virgin Mary wearing a veil, a gown and a cloak, stands on a projection of ground on the left of the panel supporting one arm of the cross to ease Christ's ordeal. St. John the Evangelist, holding his emblem, a palm, is represented in the top left corner. Three more figures of executioners are seen at the top of the panel, the left-hand figure carrying a scourge and nails, the right-hand figure (top missing) carrying a hammer. The middle figure presses down on the arm of the cross to make is heavier.

The top corners of the panel are missing, although the top right corner has been repaired with plaster. There is a crack in the bottom centre of the panel and a hole in the alabaster. At the top of the panel between the heads of the executioners is a hole. Green paint, with a 'scrubbed' appearance, and the usual daisy pattern remain on the ground. The faces of the executioners are blackened. There are three lead-plugged holes in the back of the panel, two with latten wires attached. The surface is scored with a cross mark. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

Cross mark
On the back of the panel.; scoring

Dimensions

Height: 40.5 cm, Width: 24.1 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Paris. On loan from him since 1920 and given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Historical significance: The figure holding the rope tied round Christ's waist wears a 'devil's cap' (a hat with a dragon rising from it) to illustrate his evil nature--a rare detail on panels of this subject.

Descriptive line

Panel, alabaster, Christ bearing the Cross, England, 15th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 241 (cat. 168), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0
Hildburgh, W.L. Notes on some English Alabaster Carvings. Antiquaries Journal. I, 1921, p. 222.

Materials

Alabaster; Paint

Techniques

Carving; Painting

Subjects depicted

Cap; Gown; Tunic; Hammer; Nail; Loincloth; Cloak; Rope; Cross; Whip; Veil; Palm

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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