Relief of Crucified Christ

Western German (?)
mid-12th century


18.8 x 16 x 4.06 cm (7 3/8 x 6 5/16 x 1 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gilded brass (95.9% copper, 2.5% zinc, .9% lead, .7% tin)

Not On View





Figure open in back. Cast in one piece, chased, and mercury gilded. Arms, head and legs solid cast. Christ is shown with his arms raised to the shoulders and slightly bent at the elbows. His body is frontal and symmetrical except for the head tilted to the right and the right knee that is slightly higher than the left. The crown he wears, as ruler of the world, has a hatched border and leaf-like protrusions. Parted in the center and at the back, hair falls over the shoulders in three parallel strands. Large almond-shaped eyes surrounded by fine hatching are closed in death; a moustache, marked by a raised band with hatching, curves downward to the short beard rendered in large curls below ears in the form of a reverse C. The arms and legs, modeled with sharp angles, have engraved lines marking muscles; knees, which are slightly bent, are rendered as slight protruberances. The pectoral area is sharply delineated, parallel diagonal incisions define the ribcage, and a vertical line terminating in a spiral marks the navel. The clinging loincloth (perizonium) is knotted at both sides and falls symmetrically in rippling zigzag folds to just above the knees in front and below the knees in back. The strands of the belt and the border of the loincloth are decorated with a row of dots. A hole in the right side just above the waist may have been for attachment.


By 1935, Henri Garnier, Lille [see note 1]; 1937, sold by Garnier to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. P14025); 1943, sold by Brummer to the MFA for $3000. (Accession Date: June 15, 1943)

[1] He lent this to the "Exposition de Notre Dame des Ardents et du Calvaire d'Arras dans l'Art et le Folklore," (Arras, June 16-August 1, 1935), cat. no. 156.

Credit Line

Otis Norcross Fund