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The Crucifixion (Inv. 1890 n. 9308)

Central Russia

1730-40 ca.
Tempera on wood
13.5 x 11.2 cm
1890 n. 9308

Against the backdrop of the walls of the city of Jerusalem is Christ crucified, depicted alongside two thieves, on the left the one who recognised the Son of God and thus obtained salvation, and on the right the thief who offended Christ, depicted as he looks away from the Saviour. Copious blood flows from the wounds on Jesus' body, soaking the cross raised on Mount Golgotha where, according to legend, the bones of the progenitor Adam were buried. On either side of the Saviour are Mary and Saint John the Evangelist in a mournful stance. A blanket of clouds crowns the scene.

The iconography type of the crucifixion of Christ between the two thieves originated around the 6th century, but in Russia it mainly became popularised from the late 16th century. The Uffizi icon sees the two crosses depicted diagonally, a device employed to simulate the depth of space, which likely implies the influence of Western European styles.

The work, painted using a very limited range of colours and fairly rough drawing, shares features with other icons in the Uffizi collection created in provincial workshops in central Russia during the second quarter of the 18th century.

Text by
Daniela Parenti
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