The Crucifixion with St. Mary Magdalen (c. 1500) by Luca Signorelli

The Crucifixion with St. Mary Magdalen - Luca Signorelli - c.1490

Artwork Information

TitleThe Crucifixion with St. Mary Magdalen
ArtistLuca Signorelli
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions247 x 165 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance
Current LocationUffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

About The Crucifixion with St. Mary Magdalen

“The Crucifixion with St. Mary Magdalen” is a religious painting by the High Renaissance artist Luca Signorelli, thought to have been created around 1490. The artwork is executed in oil on canvas, and its dimensions are significant, measuring 247 x 165 cm. Presently, this piece is housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, where it continues to be an object of veneration and art historical interest.

The artwork portrays the Biblical scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a central narrative in Christian theology. The central figure is Jesus, who is depicted on the cross, suspended against a serene, blue sky that stretches far into the distance. His figure is rendered with careful anatomical detail, showing a keen observation of human form, which is characteristic of the High Renaissance devotion to naturalism.

At the foot of the cross is St. Mary Magdalen, rendered with a distinct emotional intensity. She is on her knees, her arms stretched upwards towards Jesus, displaying profound grief. Her red garment contrasts vividly with the clear sky, drawing the viewer’s eye to her as a principal figure in the scene.

A skull lies at the base of the cross, a symbol often used to represent Golgotha, the place of the skull where the crucifixion is said to have occurred. The inscription on the cross is the traditional INRI (“Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum”), Latin for “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.”

In the background, observers of the event are seen in various states of response, some in contemplation while others engage in discussion, adding to the narrative quality of the scene. The setting includes architectural elements and distant landscapes, imbuing the scene with a sense of place while also inviting contemplation of the narrative beyond the immediate event of the crucifixion.

Overall, Signorelli’s work is a profound religious statement, typical of its time, balancing detailed human figures with symbolic elements to evoke a deep emotional and spiritual response.

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