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The Crucifixion

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    late 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.174-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The haloed and naked Christ, wearing the torse and naked except for a loincloth is represented on the Cross which has an unusual ledge above Christ's head. He is surrounded by a crowd of his followers including St John the Evangelist, the Virgin Mary and Longius as well as soldiers. At the base of the cross an angel kneels holding a Chalice to collect Christ's blood.

Physical description

The haloed and bearded Christ, wearing the torse and naked but for the loincloth, is represented on the cross, which has an unusual ledge above Christ's head, presumably formerly inscribed INRI. Characteristic of some of the later Crucifixions are the curious anatomical bulges below the ribs. The nails in Christ's hands and feet are not represented; only the holes of the wounds are shown. Beneath the wounds in Christ's hands and feet are angels holding chalices to catch the precious blood. Longinus, bareheaded and wearing a belted gown, holding a lance in his left hand and touching his eye with his right, stands looking up at the wound in Christ's right side, which curiously, contains a small wooden plug. The Virgin, veiled and with hands together in prayer, is seated at the base of the cross on the left of the panel. Behind her is the beardless figure of St. John the Evangelist, holding a palm in his right hand next to a female figure representing either Mary Magdalene or Mary Cleophas. The bearded centurion, wearing the characteristic tall-crowned hat and long, belted gown stands on the right of the cross with his back to Christ, pointing back at him with his right hand from which a scroll rises, doubtless previously inscribed 'Vere Filius Dei erat iste.' His left hand rests on the top of a twisted staff with a pointed end. A soldier wearing a pointed basinet with a tippet of mail, a jupon, gauntlets and leg- and arm-pieces, with a short sword hanging from a belt, stands behind him, resting his left hand on the centurion's shoulder. Five other helmeted soldiers stand across the back of the panel, one pointing upwards with his right hand; another immediately behind the centurion holds a battle-axe. The chalices held under Christ's hands are missing. The top right corner and areas of ground at the bottom of the panel are chipped. There is a hole through the panel in the top right corner. Traces of darkened green paint and the usual daisy pattern remain on the ground. Traces of paint remain elsewhere on the panel, including what appears to be a darkened green on Christ's torse. The back of the panel is incised with four slanting parallel strokes. There are three lead-plugged holes. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

late 15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

4 slanting parallel lines.
On the back of the panel.; incising

Dimensions

Height: 52.9 cm, Width: 25.3 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Paris. On loan from him to the Museum since 1930. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Alabaster panel depicting the Crucifixion. English, late 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 257 (cat. 184), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0

Materials

Alabaster; Paint

Techniques

Carving; Painting

Subjects depicted

Veil; Staff; Soldier; Halo; Hat; Palm; Lance; Cross; Angel; Loincloth; Sword; Scroll; Belt; Torse; Battle-axe; Gauntlets; Armour

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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