The Crucifixion thumbnail 1
The Crucifixion thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

The Crucifixion

Group
1664 (dated)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This ivory Crucifixion group is made by Pierre Simon Jaillot in France in 1664. Jaillot (1633-1681) is well known from various documentary sources, largely because of his dispute with Le Brun, Louis XIV's artistic adviser. He was admired above all for his crucifix figures.
This group was probably intended as an altarpiece for a private chapel. It is one of the few documented examples of French invory carving in the 17th century, and is exceptional among baroque ivories in forming a complete ensemble.

Another crucifix by Jaillot was recorded at Ailles in the late 19th century (Cherrier 1899), but is now lost. The present piece is the only signed and dated piece known by him, and is regarded as his most ambitious work. Commentators in the 18th century referred eulogistically to Jaillot’s sculpture, and the anonymous author of Mémoires secrets, published in 1787, noted the sublime character of this Crucifixion group, as well as the Jansenist manner in which Christ’s body was suspended from the cross, his arms almost vertically above his head. It was reproduced in an engraving by Etienne Picart after a painting by Louis Licherie, first published in 1821 (Baker 2011). An unattributed ivory figure of the Good Thief, the only survival from a lost crucifixion group, which is now in the Louvre, is thought to be French and to date from c. 1650. It shows stylistic analogies with the present group.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 8 parts.

  • Statuette
  • Statuette
  • Statuette
  • Statuette
  • Statuette
  • Statuette
  • Statuette
  • Statuette
Materials and Techniques
Ivory on later walnut cross
Brief Description
Group, ivory, The Crucifixion, by Pierre Simon Jaillot, France, 1664
Physical Description
The group of figures consists of the Crucified Christ on a later walnut cross with an ivory scroll inscribed in Hebrew, Latin and Greek, and ivory skull and crossbones; the Good Thief and the Bad Thief, each with a scroll inscribed; the sorrowing Virgin; St. John the Evangelist; the kneeling figure of Mary Magdalene, and two pairs of angels to be suspended above the group. Signed.
Dimensions
  • Christ height: 48cm
  • Good thief height: 39cm
  • Bad thief height: 38cm
  • Virgin height: 34.3cm
  • St. john height: 34 (approx.)cm
  • Mary magdalene height: 29.2cm
  • First pair of angels height: 12.7cm
  • 2nd pair of angels height: 12.7cm
Measurements from Object Card.
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'DYSMAS LATRO' (on scroll of Good Thief)
  • 'GESTAS LATRO' (on scroll of Bad Thief)
  • 'P S Jaillot 1664' (signed)
Gallery Label
  • The Crucifixion 1664 The dying Christ is flanked by the Good Thief and the Bad Thief. At his feet are the grieving Virgin, St John the Evangelist and the kneeling figure of Mary Magdalene. The group was probably made for a private chapel. France (Paris) By Pierre Simon Jaillot Ivory Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund Florent Le Comte, 1702 ‘In Jaillot’s crucifixes we find all that we could ask for, for the connoisseur and for the devout person. You could say that if he provides an object of study for one, the other no less finds a subject for meditation.’(09.12.2015)
  • CRUCIFIXION French; signed and dated 1664 Ivory By Pierre Simon Jaillot Purchased with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund Probably intended as an altarpiece for a private chapel, this group is one of the few documented examples of French ivory carving in the 17th century. Jaillot is best known for his ill-advised and acrimonious dispute with Louis XIV’s artistic advisor, Charles Lebrun. e appears to have worked primarily in ivory but the large scale of the figures in this group the suggests the close connections of his work with French monumental sculpture by artists such as Girardon. (1993 - 2011)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support
Object history
Bought from Sotheby's (sold by Mrs Johnson Polana Jasna, Princeton NJ, USA) for £94,775, in 1984 (with a grant of 10,000 from the Arts Fund). Formerly Curé of St Germain l'Auxerrois, 1787; M. de Meynard, probably Paris, 1900; Fernard Robert, Paris, May, 1903; Formerly it was acquired by Lord Astor in 1903, then sold at the Hever Castle sale at Sotheby's on 4 May 1983 (lot 332) when it was purchased by the above American collector. Export was blocked following a meeting of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art, 18th August, 1983.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This ivory Crucifixion group is made by Pierre Simon Jaillot in France in 1664. Jaillot (1633-1681) is well known from various documentary sources, largely because of his dispute with Le Brun, Louis XIV's artistic adviser. He was admired above all for his crucifix figures.

This group was probably intended as an altarpiece for a private chapel. It is one of the few documented examples of French invory carving in the 17th century, and is exceptional among baroque ivories in forming a complete ensemble.



Another crucifix by Jaillot was recorded at Ailles in the late 19th century (Cherrier 1899), but is now lost. The present piece is the only signed and dated piece known by him, and is regarded as his most ambitious work. Commentators in the 18th century referred eulogistically to Jaillot’s sculpture, and the anonymous author of Mémoires secrets, published in 1787, noted the sublime character of this Crucifixion group, as well as the Jansenist manner in which Christ’s body was suspended from the cross, his arms almost vertically above his head. It was reproduced in an engraving by Etienne Picart after a painting by Louis Licherie, first published in 1821 (Baker 2011). An unattributed ivory figure of the Good Thief, the only survival from a lost crucifixion group, which is now in the Louvre, is thought to be French and to date from c. 1650. It shows stylistic analogies with the present group.
Bibliographic References
  • Theuerkauff, Christian. "Kleinplastik des Barock: Werke von Jean Gaulette, Michel Mollart und anderen Französischen Zeitgenossen", in: Kunst und Antiquitäten, I/85, p. 46-53
  • Baker, Malcolm, "Baroque Ivory Carving in France and England", in: National Art Collections Review, 1984, pp. 106-108
  • De Bachaumont, Louis Petit, Memoires Secrets pour Servir à l'Histoire de la Republique des Lettres en France depuis 1762, Vol 34, Paris, p. 347
  • De Montaiglon, M. Anatole, Process-Verbaux de l'Academie Royale…1648-1793, Paris 1878, p. 13
  • Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 222
Collection
Accession Number
A.1:0-1984

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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