The crucifixion (1558) by Titian

The crucifixion - Titian - 1558

Artwork Information

TitleThe crucifixion
Dimensions371 x 197 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance

About The crucifixion

“The Crucifixion” is an artwork by Titian, completed in 1558. This religious painting belongs to the High Renaissance movement and is executed in oil on canvas. Measuring 371 x 197 centimeters, this sizeable work renders a rendition of the pivotal New Testament episode with both grandeur and poignant intimacy.

In the artwork, one beholds a dramatic scene centered on the crucified Christ. Suspended on the cross, Christ is the focal point, with His figure mostly illuminated amidst the chiaroscuro that envelops the setting. Above His head appears the inscription “INRI,” acronymous of “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” a mocking title given to Him by Pontius Pilate. Christ’s body displays the physical toll of His ordeals, evidenced by marked details of strain and suffering, yet also infused with a certain divine grace.

Flanking the cross, one observes two figures, presumably representing the Virgin Mary and Saint John, traditionally depicted as witnesses to the crucifixion. The Virgin, cloaked in blue, stands to the left with a lowered gaze, embodying profound sorrow and a meditative grace. Saint John, draped in red, is to the right, his upward look and expressive gesticulation suggesting a profound entreaty or theological insight.

The background reveals a brooding sky, possibly alluding to the biblical description of darkness enveloping the land during the crucifixion. The darker tones and shadowed recesses converse with the brighter highlights, creating an atmospheric depth that enhances the perception of this pivotal moment.

Titian’s mastery in rendering human emotion and his use of light, as well as his contribution to the High Renaissance style, are evident in this artwork. The depiction not only narrates the historical religious event but also invites contemplation of its spiritual and emotional dimensions.

Other Artwork from Titian

More High Renaissance Artwork

Scroll to Top