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Master of Saint Francis, Crucifix

Key facts
Full title Crucifix
Artist Master of Saint Francis
Artist dates active 1272
Date made about 1265-70
Medium and support Egg tempera on poplar
Dimensions 91.8 × 70.6 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with contributions from the Art Fund and an anonymous donor, 1965
Inventory number NG6361
Location On loan: The Enigma of the Master of Saint Francis. The Stil Novo in Thirteenth-Century Umbria, Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia, Italy
Collection Main Collection
Master of Saint Francis

We don't know the identity of the artist, but he painted a group of works for Franciscan patrons in and around Assisi. These include the image of Saint Francis for the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, after which he is named.

He made several painted Crosses on this scale. They were probably for use in processions and originally had the same image on both sides. This one has been cut in half, probably because of damage from frequent use. It shows Christ upon the Cross, his body bowed in death. Red blood drips in neat lines from his hands and feet.

On the panel to the left is the Virgin, supported in her grief by Mary Magdalene. On the right are Saint John the Evangelist and the Roman soldier who, according to Luke’s Gospel, recognised Christ as the Son of God when he was hung on the Cross.

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