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Possibly by Francesco Botticini, The Crucifixion

Key facts
Full title The Crucifixion
Artist Possibly by Francesco Botticini
Artist dates about 1446 - 1497
Date made about 1471
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 28.5 × 35 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1883
Inventory number NG1138
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Crucifixion
Possibly by Francesco Botticini

Christ is shown nailed to the Cross at his crucifixion, flanked by the two thieves who were crucified alongside him. His mother, the Virgin Mary, and his disciple John (known as the beloved disciple) stand at the foot of the Cross.

The panel comes from the predella, which was the lowest part of an altarpiece and usually formed of individual narrative scenes. Several others from the same series, depicting the events leading up to Christ’s death, have been identified but we do not know to which altarpiece they belonged.

The picture was once thought to be by the Florentine painter Andrea Castagno, who trained the Pollaiulolo brothers, Antonio and Piero. The broad landscape background – which has darkened over time – with a winding path or river can be found in paintings by Piero and Antonio. More recently the picture has been connected with their Florentine contemporary, Botticini, who developed this type of landscape painting to grandest effect in his altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin, also in the National Gallery’s collection.

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