The Crucifixion (1515) by Grunewald

The Crucifixion - Grunewald - c.1512 - c.1515

Artwork Information

TitleThe Crucifixion
Datec.1512 - c.1515
MediumOil on Panel
Dimensions307 x 269 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationMusee d'Unterlinden, Colmar

About The Crucifixion

“The Crucifixion” is a significant work by the artist Grunewald, created approximately between 1512 and 1515. This oil on panel painting, part of the larger Isenheim Altarpiece, exemplifies the Northern Renaissance art movement in both style and thematic substance. With dimensions of 307 x 269 cm, this religious painting is of considerable size and is currently housed at the Musee d’Unterlinden in Colmar.

The artwork portrays an intensely dramatic scene centered upon the crucified Christ. The gaunt, contorted figure of Jesus is depicted with an emphasis on his suffering, with highly detailed wounds and a crown of thorns, embodying the stark realism often associated with Grunewald’s work. To the left of Christ, John the Evangelist supports a swooning Virgin Mary, both clothed in richly hued garments that contrast with the bleak background. Mary Magdalene is shown kneeling at the foot of the cross, her hands raised in a gesture of anguish and devotion.

On the right side of Christ stands John the Baptist, pointing towards Jesus and holding an open book, a traditional symbol of Scripture. Beside him, a lamb holding a cross represents the “Lamb of God,” further underscoring the salvation theme inherent in the crucifixion narrative. The dark, subdued background contrasts sharply with the stark lighting on the figures, emphasizing their emotional torment and the gravity of the scene. Each expression and gesture in the artwork conveys a profound narrative of passion, devotion, and sacrifice, marking this as a pivotal piece of religious artwork from the period.

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