10th Tiberius Auction
Spain/Catalonia or Astruria
Carved wood & remains of the original polychrome setting
109.5 x 98 cm
The Crucified with arms attached was made around 1250 in Spain, probably in Catalonia. Frozen in a faint S-shape, Jesus hangs from the cross; his head is tilted to one side and his eyes are closed. The emaciated body reveals the ribcage beneath a thin layer of skin and the dramatic, V-notched abdomen. The low-hanging perizonium is knotted at the side and hangs down to the knees. The feet are crossed in the three-nail type, and the right foot, bent in a stylised manner, is almost expressing a moment of rigor mortis, emphasising Jesus’ previous ordeals.
Such Corpus Christi types were common in medieval Spain. While majestically erect, triumphant depictions of the Crucifixion were popular until the end of the 12th century, after 1200 a new representational convention developed of the resigned, introspective dramatic Christ, whose humanity and suffering were emphasised. The posture of the tilted head, the upwardly angled arms, the V-shaped abdomen with strongly translucent ribs above it, the emphasised pelvic area, the long loincloth with prominent knot at the hip, and the stylised feet crossed over each other are distinct features of mid-13th century Spanish Crucifixion depictions from Catalonia. Especially the latter feature of the superimposed feet, with the right foot angled over the left in an unnaturally rigid posture, seems to be an impressive characteristic of this type. The nearest comparable example is the Catalan crucified Christ from the church of Santa Maria dels Turers in Banyoles in north-eastern Spain (Art Institute Chicago, 1926.120). This Christ was hung between the choir and the nave, where the congregation was; he was thus a focal point for the faithful who witnessed this New Testament event.
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