Relief with Scene from the Legend of the True Cross

South Netherlandish

Not on view

This relief, along with another in the collection (acc. no. 23.79.2), once formed part of a narrative that stretched across the back of an altar. Carved from single blocks of marble, the two compositions feature episodes from the discovery of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. In order to bring these distant events into the present, the sculptor employed clothing and character types familiar to fifteenth-century audiences. Here Saint Helena and her retinue witness proof of the True Cross’s identity, when its miraculous touch brings a man back from the dead. Jude, having led Helena to the cross and observed the miracle, converts to Christianity and receives baptism

Relief with Scene from the Legend of the True Cross, Marble, South Netherlandish

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