The Crucifixion (c. 1515) by Gerard David

The Crucifixion - Gerard David - c.1475

Artwork Information

TitleThe Crucifixion
ArtistGerard David
MediumOil on Panel
Dimensions88 x 56 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationThyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain

About The Crucifixion

“The Crucifixion” is a devotional work by Gerard David, an esteemed artist of the Northern Renaissance, believed to have been created around 1475. This religious painting, executed with oil on panel, measures 88 by 56 centimeters. It reflects the emphasis on detailed realism characteristic of its era and geographical influence. Admirers of this artwork can view it in person at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum located in Madrid, Spain.

The artwork presents a poignant portrayal of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a central theme in Christian art. Christ is depicted on the cross suffering, with a somber sky looming in the backdrop, suggesting the darkness that fell upon the land during his final moments. His face is turned upward in an expression of anguish, and the INRI inscription can be seen above his head.

Surrounding the central figure of Christ are various individuals who feature prominently in the biblical account of this event. To the left, the grieving Virgin Mary is supported by John the Apostle, both of whom are depicted in traditional garb, with Mary in the dark cloak of mourning. She, along with other female figures, is visibly distraught, with one woman, possibly Mary Magdalene, seen weeping into her hands.

Kneeling to the right of Jesus is a soldier, possibly the centurion who, according to the Gospels, recognized Jesus as the son of God. Also included in the scene are figures who are likely the two thieves crucified alongside Jesus, as well as a small congregation of onlookers, soldiers, and clerical figures, each engrossed in the solemn events.

In the distant background, the meticulously rendered landscape features a panoramic view of a city, possibly alluding to Jerusalem, with rolling hills and architectural structures, such as complex buildings and homes that mesh biblical narratives with contemporary Flemish influences.

The artwork demonstrates the characteristic attention to detail and emotional resonance of the Northern Renaissance, with careful consideration given to the textures of fabrics, human emotions, and the various elements of the natural world. These artistic choices contribute to a scene that is not only a historical and religious representation but also a profound exploration of human sorrow and spiritual reflection.

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