Tuesday, 3 June 2008

CRUCIFIXION - 5th to 13th centuries

This is the first of a series of posts in which I will bring together various depictions of the crucifixion, chronologically. First up, the 5th to 13th centuries.


Panel from an Ivory Casket: The Crucifixion of Christ. Ivory relief, probably made in Rome c.420-30. British Museum, London.

The earliest known narrative representation of the crucifixion. This panel originally belonged to an ivory casket, alongside panels representing Christ carrying the cross, the empty sepulchre and Doubting Thomas. Christ is depicted eyes open and looking very much alive, in contrast to the figure of judas who hangs from the tree on the left. In the branch which bends towards Christ's right hand a bird feeds her chicks, a symbol of the life-giving power of his death.

---

Door Panel of Santa Sabina, Rome. Early 5th Century. Basilica Santa Sabina all'Aventino, Rome.

Another very early depiction, this panel is the earliest known scene to feature the two thieves on either side of the central crucifixion.
The Door Panels of Santa Sabina
Another article on the doors
Wikipedia entry on the Basilica

---

Reliquary of the True Cross. Enamelled Reliquary. Early 9th Century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


---

Enamel Plaque, c.976. San Marco, Venice.

Unlike earlier depictions of Christ on the cross, here he is most definitely dead. His head hangs to one side, his body is limp, and there is blood gushing from his side. The naively rendered stream of blood is wonderful.

---

Illuminated Manuscript, c1030. J. Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.

The small figure clutching the base of the crucifix is Mary Magdalene, appearing for one of the first times in a crucifixion scene. From the 1400's onwards, as more attention was paid to the humanity of the scene, she became a regular fixture in the group of figures who surround the dying Christ.

---

Ivory book cover, 11th century. Essen Cathedral, Germany.


---

Gilded Silver book cover with Byzantine Icon of the Crucifixion, 1000-1085. Spanish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


One of a pair which probably served as book covers.

---

Fresco, 1209. Monastery of the Virgin, Studenica, Serbia.

"The Virgin's Church was painted in the first decade of the 13th century. The original frescoes have been partly preserved in the altar area, under the dome, on the west wall, and in the lower registers of the nave. The most splendid representation is that of the Crucifixion, painted on blue background in 1209, one of the paramount achievements in Serbian art. On the south wall there is the "founders' composition" which shows the Virgin taking Nemanja (Simon) with the church model to Jesus Christ as the Magistrate Impartial. The narthex was painted in 1569. Those frescoes include an exquisite representation of the Last Judgment in the upper registers, and the portrait of Nemanja's wife Ana as the nun Anastasija."
Wikipedia article
History of the monastery

---

No comments: