- Author, circle:
- Bertoldo di Giovanni (1440-1491)
- Epoch, date:
- circa 1475
Florence, Bargello National Museum
- inv. Bronzi 207
- Technical details:
- bronze, h. cm 75x67
- Florence, Palazzo Medici, (1492) (?); Guardaroba Medicea (1560) (?); Uffizi, Tribuna (1589) (?); Uffizi Gallery (1784) (?); Bargello National Museum (from 1873/1879)
- Description, subject:
The three crucifixes stand out against the background of a sky furrowed by clouds cut in perspective: Christ is shown frontally in the centre and the two robbers at the sides, foreshortened. Below, the mourners gather in despair around the central cross: Mary Magdalen kneeling in the centre and the holy women are dressed and gesticulate like ancient Maenads in the grip of frenzy. With them is Saint John the Evangelist, with his hands joined and his bearded face turned upwards; balancing him is the Virgin on the left, wrapped in her cloak, clasped in her grief. To the right we can possibly recognise Nicodemus, seen from the back. These characters, protagonists of the traditional iconography of the Crucifixion, are joined on the left by Saint Jerome and Saint Francis. The scene expresses a profound pathos through the agitated gestures of the figures, the facial expressions, and the hair and garments blown about by the wind.
- Historical information:
In 1492 the relief of the Crucifixion was in Palazzo Medici in the chamber of Giuliano (later Giuliano, Duke of Nemours), according to what is recorded in the inventory of the assets drawn up on the death of the Magnifico.
Attributed to Bertoldo di Giovanni from the nineteenth century, the bronze represents the most demanding work on a sacred subject executed by the sculptor. References have been noted to various works datable before the middle of the 1480s, such as: Donatello’s Christ on the Altar of the Saint in Padua (for the Crucified Christ); the Crucifixion in the pulpits of San Lorenzo in Florence, again by Donatello (for the grieving women); the Dancers frescoed by Pollaiolo in Villa Gallina; the reliefs by Agostino di Duccio in the Malatesta Temple in Rimini.
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