European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection
CrucifixMade in Italy, Europe
Master of Montelabate, Italian (active Umbria), documented 1285; active 1280-90
Tempera on panel
W1952-1-1Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1952
LabelIn the 1200s, the Franciscans popularized the use of large, painted crucifixes like this one, which were often mounted on rood screens that divided the nave from the sanctuary of a church. Though the dying Christ's figure follows the model of a famous crucifix then in the Franciscan's principal church in Assisi, this painting was not made for a Franciscan church, but probably for the church of a nearby monastery of another religious order. At Christ's feet kneels the donor who ordered the painting. He does not wear a Franciscan friar's simple tunic, but the rich robes of an abbot.
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