Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Torso of Christ from a Deposition

Date:
late 12th century
Geography:
Made in Auvergne, France
Culture:
French
Medium:
Poplar, gesso, paint, and metal leaf
Dimensions:
43 x 13 3/4 x 9 1/2 in. (109.2 x 34.9 x 24.1 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Wood
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1925
Accession Number:
25.120.221
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 2
This fragmentary but sensitively carved sculpture was for many years considered to be from a crucifix. The position of Christ’s body, however, which is bent slightly at the waist, suggests that the piece more likely was one of a group of sculptures that represented the Deposition, or the removal of Christ's body from the Cross. Despite major losses, the torso retains great sculptural power arising from the careful modeling of the body and the rhythmic patterns of the drapery. When discovered by George Grey Barnard near Lavaudieu, the piece was being used in a field as a scarecrow. The arms, legs, and (probably) head were originally separate pieces held in place by dowels in mortise-and-tenon joints. The original paint is obscured by a fourteenth-century overpainting. Examination has revealed that one layer of the loincloth was originally lapis lazuli blue studded with applied tin leaf and a brilliant red lining.
Said to come from the abbey at Lavaudieu; George Grey Barnard American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York, New York (until 1925)
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Breck, Joseph. The Cloisters: A Brief Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1927. pp. 26-27, fig. 15.

Breck, Joseph. The Cloisters: A Brief Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. pp. 26-27, fig. 15.

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Kargère, Lucretia Goddard, and Adriana Rizzo. "Twelfth-Century French Polychrome Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Materials and Techniques." Metropolitan Museum Studies in Art, Science, and Technology 1 (2010). pp. 39-65, fig. 2, 10, 22-26.

Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. 75th Anniversary ed. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 60.

Kargère, Lucretia Goddard. "La sculpture romane polychrome sur bois en Auvergne et Bourgogne: étude technique de quatre sculptures du Metropolitan Museum de New York." Les Cahiers de Saint-Michel de Cuxa XLIII (2012). pp. 111-121, fig. 2, 5, 11, 12.

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Kargère, Lucretia Goddard, Pierre-Yves Le Pogam, Juliette Levy-Hinstin, and Nathalie Pingaud. "Un Christ roman auvergnat retrouve son unité grâce à l’étude de la polychromie." Technè 39 (2014). pp. 60-65, fig. 2.



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