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The Crucifixion
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The Crucifixion

Description Conservation Provenance Inscription Credit
Description A fictive architectural border frames this somber image of the Crucifixion. The dead Christ hangs from the cross while the Virgin Mary (left) and the apostle John (right) stand by in mourning. Saint Mary Magdalen kneels at the foot of the cross and embraces its base. At the top of the cross is a plaque inscribed “INRI,” an abbreviation for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (in Latin, “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum”). A single soldier (presumably intended to represent those who nailed Christ to the cross) rides off into the landscape, the barrenness of which alludes to Christ's death. The meticulous execution, graceful figures, and silvery tonalities are typical traits of Pietro Orioli, one of the most refined painters of Renaissance Siena The Walters’ panel was originally part of a “predella,” or illustrated base, of a monumental altarpiece by Orioli depicting the Virgin Mary ascending into heaven. The central panel of the altarpiece was cut into fragments sometime in the 19th century; these fragments are now in several public and private collections around the world. Other panels from the predella also survive and depict various scenes from the life of Christ, including his birth (private collection), baptism (Cambridge, UK, Fitzwilliam Museum), resurrection (Cambridge, UK, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK), and the Pentecost (private collection).
Date Description Narrative
12/31/1969Examinationexamined for condition
3/20/1961Treatmentcleaned; coated; examined for condition; inpainted
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 88, as Melozzo da Forlì]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] On plaque at top of cross: I.N.R.I.; [abbreviation for]: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeourm; [translation]: Jesus of Nazarus, King of the Jews
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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ca. 1490 (Renaissance)
tempera on wood panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H including added strips: 14 15/16 x W: 10 11/16 x D excluding cradle: 7/16 in. (38 x 27.2 x 1.1 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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