Crucifixus dolorosus

Crucifixi dolorosi are distinguished by the drastic expression of Christ’s face, the broken line of his body, expressive polychromy and naturalistic details such as the blood and swollen skin around the wounds of the hands and feet. The Crucifixus dolorosus as a sculptural type seems to have been introduced to Italy by Giovanni Pisano and his circle in Tuscany shortly before 1300. The Tuscan examples are distinguished by their soft but weighty drapery and slender bodies which contrast the harsh but accurate anatomy and expression of their faces. Several of the Tuscan corpora, including the present figure, had their Crown of Thorns made from rope with real thorns. The ideological roots of the Crucifixi dolorosi lie with the Dominican order and in the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who propounded that Christ had suffered through all the senses and in his entire body. During a short period in the fourteenth century these figures were thus erected in churches and monasteries throughout Italy and the larger Alpine region before the harsh and confronting model was superseded by a more sanguine Christ on the Cross.

Central Italian, probably Tuscany,
circa 1320-1350

Crucifixus dolorosus
Softwood with early polychromy, the Crown of Thorns made of rope pierced with real thorns, the wound a Baroque addition in metal
57.5 cm. excluding stand