UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum

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Processional Crucifix


Unknown Artist
Hungarian (Bohemian), 15th c.
Figurines possibly based on designs by Francesco di Lorenzo Rosselli
Italian, 1445- c.1513
Processional Crucifix, c. 1485
Enamel, silver, gilt bronze over iron core, 16 1/8 x 11 13/16 x 1 3/4 inches
Museum Purchase with funds from The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation,
2009.7.2

Depicted at the moment of his passing, the gilded bronze cast of Christ on this processional cross sags beneath the weight of his lifeless form. The Blessed Virgin Mary on Jesus's right, the beloved apostle John to his left, the forgiven Magdalene beneath his feet, and Simon Peter, the first pope to whom the keys of heaven have been given, above, are distributed at the terminals of the cross. Additional saints on the reverse supplied a cloud of witnesses, providing examples of faithfulness to the medieval men and women who would have fallen into procession behind this resplendent liturgical object on the appropriate feast days. Glistening in the light, these gilded bronze figurines, inspired by designs of Francesco Rosselli, were beacons of hope and victory to medieval worshippers, who followed the red, white, blue, and green enamel arms of the cross that were decorated with lavish networks of silver filigree and lily-white florets, executed in a mid-fifteenth century Hungarian workshop.