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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:
Overall: 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
  • Description

    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.

  • Provenance

    Said to come from the abbey at Lavaudieu; George Grey Barnard American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York , New York (until 1925)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
472310:2

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