Torso of Christ


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 02

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.

Torso of Christ, Poplar, gesso, paint, and metal leaf, French

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