Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John (possibly from a diptych)

French (Paris)
Medieval (Gothic)
about 1325–50


Place of Manufacture: Paris, France

Dimensions

17.2 x 10.6 x 1.6 cm (6 3/4 x 4 3/16 x 5/8 in.); Legacy dimension: Overall 6 11/16 x 4 3/16 in. (17 x 10.7 cm)

Accession Number

1973.690

Medium or Technique

Ivory with metal frame

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Sculpture

This plaque is distinguished from the large production of French Gothic ivories by its unusual size, the expressive moment of the turned heads of Mary and John and the exceptionally high relief of the carving. The undercut border and the trefoil arch of the canopy which hides the fingers of Christ enhance the three-dimensional spatial effect. The originality of the carver is revealed by the two half figures in the spandrels above the crocketed gabled canopy. In contemporary French crucifixion panels these figures are usually depected as angels swinging censors; here, however, the carver has reverted to an earlier interpretation in which the mourning figures hold a disc and a crescent, symbols of the Sun and Moon.

Provenance

Before 1950, Mary Onsen, Washington, D.C. May 10, 1950, anonymous sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, lot 134, to Jacques Seligmann & Co., New York, for 500 dollars. 1973, sold by Germain Seligman (b. 1893 - d. 1978), New York, to John Goelet, New York; 1973, gift of John Goelet to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 9, 1974)

Credit Line

Gift of John Goelet in honor of Hanns Swarzenski