Mar 5, 2007

The Crucifixion

The Crucifixion


Matteo di Giovanni

(Italian, c. 1435–1495)

Tempera and oil with gold on wood panel

Framed: 39.4 x 38.1 x 4.5 cm (15 1/2 x 15 x 1 3/4 in.); Unframed: 29.8 x 31 cm (11 3/4 x 12 3/16 in.)

Bequest of James Parmelee 1940.535


This small picture belonged to a predella, a series of subsidiary panels consisting of narrative scenes and situated at the bottom of an altarpiece. Predella paintings are significant because the artist was allowed more freedom and inventiveness here than in the higher part of the altarpiece. In this Crucifixion scene, the harmony of colors, the monumentality of the figures, and the symmetry of the composition all reflect the classical spirit of Renaissance Italy. Moreover, the panel shows some characteristics of the traditional Sienese school—such as the quality and elegance of the lines—which persists in Giovanni’s works.

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