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Gallery Text

The small scale of this cross makes it likely that it was commissioned for a private chapel or building. A veiled woman, kneeling in prayer at the foot of the cross, may be the patron who commissioned it. Her presence makes it likely that the crucifix was made for a female audience, either lay or monastic. In the thirteenth century, Italian painters went from depicting rigid figures of Christ, who gazed triumphantly, eyes open, at the beholder, to more emotionally charged representations of the Redeemer, whose dead and bleeding body hangs from the cross in the direction of the supplicant. Such crucifixes were often claimed to be miraculous. Some beholders, such as Saint Francis praying to the crucifix in the Church of San Damiano at Assisi, heard Christ speak; others saw his head move, or were levitated or cured while focusing their devotion on the cross.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1929.250
People
Unidentified Artist
Title
The Virgin and Saint John the Redeemer, and a Praying Woman
Other Titles
Former Title: Crucifix with Female Donor
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
c. 1290-1295
Places
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Tuscany, Florence
Culture
Italian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/231166
Location
Level 2, Room 2440, Medieval Art, Medieval Art
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Tempera on panel
Dimensions
69.5 x 35 x 2.2 cm (27 3/8 x 13 3/4 x 7/8 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Henry S. Bowers, Class of 1900
Accession Year
1929
Object Number
1929.250
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 217 [as unknown Florence 13th century]

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 119, 279, repr. b/w cat. no. 469

Angelo Tartuferi and Mario Scalini, L'Arte a Firenze nell' età di Dante (1250-1300), exh. cat., Giunti Editore (Florence, Italy, 2004), no. 18, repr. in color

Exhibition History

L'Arte a Firenze nell'Eta di Dante (1250-1300), Galleria dell'Accademia, Firenze, 06/01/2004 - 09/26/2004

The Portrait, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/15/2004 - 01/09/2005

32Q: 2440 Medieval, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu