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Niccolo di Liberatore, 'Christ on the Cross, and Other Scenes', 1487

Key facts
Full title Christ on the Cross, and Other Scenes
Artist Niccolo di Liberatore
Artist dates active about 1456; died 1502
Date made 1487
Medium and support Tempera and oil on wood
Dimensions 92.1 × 57.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1881
Inventory number NG1107
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Christ on the Cross, and Other Scenes
Niccolo di Liberatore

The central panel of this triptych (a painting made up of three sections) shows the crucified Christ. Angels cover their eyes unable to bear the sight as they gather the blood from his wounds in chalices, which resemble those which hold the wine of the Eucharist, drunk at Mass. The fainting Virgin Mary is supported by two women, and Christ’s so-called ‘beloved’ disciple, often thought to be John the Evangelist, wrings his hands in grief.

The figure who wraps his arms around the base of the Cross is a thirteenth-century saint, Francis. His prayer was so intense that he had a vision of Christ on the Cross and at that moment received the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) in his hands and feet; his bleeding feet are apparent here. The triptych was once at a church in Aquila, in eastern Italy, that was dedicated to Saint Clare, who founded an order of Franciscan nuns.

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