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Giovanni Mansueti, Symbolic Representation of the Crucifixion

Key facts
Full title Symbolic Representation of the Crucifixion
Artist Giovanni Mansueti
Artist dates active 1484 - died 1526/7
Date made probably 1492
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 129.5 × 123.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1896
Inventory number NG1478
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Symbolic Representation of the Crucifixion
Giovanni Mansueti

Christ is shown crucified – the massive figure of God the Father holds the arms of the Cross as though presenting him to the viewer. A dove, representing the Holy Ghost, hovers between them. The three together represent the Trinity, the one Christian God consisting of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

The surrounding figures were, according to the biblical accounts, present at the Crucifixion. Christ’s mother, Mary, and John the Evangelist stand on either side of the Cross; Mary Magdalene kneels clutching Christ’s feet.

Mansueti used contemporary architectural details to create a setting that would have been familiar to his Venetian audience: the marble is like that used for the Venetian basilica of San Marco. This setting is, however, only a screen within a landscape; it is a fantasy. The ambiguity might be intended to reflect the mystery of the subject which could neither be represented within an interior nor a landscape setting.

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