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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, painted and gilt alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by F. L. Pearson

  • Museum number:

    A.9:1-1943

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The haloed and bearded Christ, naked except for a loincloth, is at the centre of the panel. The Virgin Mary, veiled and wearing a cloak fastened with a brooche kneels facing to the left with her hands are crossed. She is supported by the beardless figure of St. John the Evangelist. Angels are shown at the base of the cross receiving Christ's blood in chalices.

This panel probably formed the central panel of an altarpiece and would have been taller than those flanking it. Several examples of this type of crowded composition survive from the late fifteenth century.

Physical description

The haloed and bearded Christ, wearing the torse and naked but for the loincloth, is on the cross at the centre of the panel. The cross is battlemented at the foot. Christ's head is inclined to his right and a long lock of hair hangs down in front of his left shoulder. His right foot rests on his left. Angels receive the blood in chalices held under the wounds in his hands and feet. Longinus, touching his eye with his right hand and holding the lance in his left hand, stands on Christ's right. On a smaller scale, to Christ's right and left, are represented the beardless figure of the good thief and the bearded figure of the unrepentant thief who hang from crosses by their arms. The Virgin Mary, veiled and wearing a cloak fastened with a brooch, kneels facing left, head bowed, on the left of the panel. Her hands are crossed in front of her and she is supported from behind by the beardless figure of St. John the Evangelist who looks up at Christ. One of the Marys stands on the left of the panel behind the Virgin. The bearded centurion, wearing a deep-crowned hat, a belted gown and a cloak over his shoulders, is standing on the right of the panel. He turns towards the figure of a soldier wearing a pointed helmet who stands behind him. The centurion points with his left hand to the cross, a scroll rising from his finger. The scroll was no doubt previously inscribed 'Vere Filius Dei erat iste.' His left hand rests on the top of his staff, most of which is concealed by an angel's wing.

The right hand of Christ, the angel beneath it and the head and chalice of the angel at the foot of the cross are damaged. The angel under the left hand of Christ, and the angel by the wound in his right side, are almost entirely missing. Green paint and the usual daisy pattern remain on the lower ground, as well as traces on the cross. However, some of the paint, especially the red and gilding, appears to be relatively modern. The back of the panel is incised with a number of strokes which may be random and also with the word 'LOMBARD.' There are four 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, painted and gilt alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

A number of lines which may be random.
On the back of the panel.; incising

'LOMBARD'
On the back of the panel.; incising

Dimensions

Height: 49.3 cm, Width: 26.6 cm

Object history note

The panel was in the family of F. L. Pearson for sixty to seventy years. Previously owned by Pearson's father, an architect of the Gothic revival. Given to the Museum by F.L. Pearson in 1943.

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. 253 (cat. 180), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0

Materials

Alabaster; Paint; Gilt

Techniques

Carving; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Helmet; Soldier; Scroll; Chalice; Loincloth; Hat; Veil; Angel; Staff; Lance; Torse; Cloak; Brooch; Cross; Halo

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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