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Flesh and Fabric: New Light on a Crucifixion by Pietro Lorenzetti

A golden pediment portrays an angel looking upward.
Pietro Lorenzetti, Italian, Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and Saints Claire, John the Evangelist, and Francis (detail), c. 1320. Tempera and gold leaf on panel. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop, 1943.119.


Harvard Art Museums, Menschel Hall, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

At the top of a painting of a Crucifixion by Pietro Lorenzetti (c. 1280–1348), an angel holds in one hand an unfurled scroll and in the other a bloody tunic. Never previously noted, let alone explained, this unique combination of motifs provides the key to understanding the panel’s unusual imagery. It sheds fresh light on the complex nexus between art, piety, and theology in 14th-century Italy, in particular at Assisi—the site of the mother house of the Franciscan order, where the panel most likely was made. This talk integrates the results of the recent technical examination of the panel and related art-historical research.

Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Kuno Francke Professor of German Art & Culture, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Kate Smith, Conservator of Paintings and Head of Paintings Lab, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies
Cristina Morilla, Special Project Conservator of Paintings, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies

Free admission, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Reservations may be arranged by clicking on the event on this form beginning on Thursday, October 6, after 10am.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Doors will open at 1:30pm.

Please review our general visitor policies, including details on COVID-related precautions.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at at least 48 hours in advance.