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Probably by Antonio Cicognara, Mystic Figure of Christ

Key facts
Full title Mystic Figure of Christ
Artist Probably by Antonio Cicognara
Artist dates active 1480 - 1500
Date made late 15th century
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 50.8 × 33.3 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3069
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Mystic Figure of Christ
Probably by Antonio Cicognara

Christ sits upon a tree trunk, sheltered within a building that looks like a small chapel with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. He wears the crown of thorns, which was placed upon his head before the Crucifixion. Around his neck is a looped rope, a reminder of the Flagellation (when he was tied up and whipped).

It is unclear whether the picture is supposed to represent a particular moment or a mystical vision of Christ’s sufferings. It presents Christ as a focus for prayer and meditation. His presence in the chapel takes the place of an altar with a religious painting above. Outside, we see an Italian hillside where stags and deer graze.

Cicognara came from a town near Milan but his work is not well-known as he signed very few pictures. He was a painter and manuscript illuminator, and the precision of the details in the landscape and the architecture fits well with an artist used to working on a small scale.

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