Giovanni Balducci called Il Cosci (attr.), Ascent to Calvary

Giovanni Balducci, called Il Cosci
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Original location
Canvas, tempera pigments
Height: 230 cm; Width: 573,5 cm;

Tempera  painting by Giovanni Balducci (1588), depicting the moment Jesus falls under the weight of the Cross and is comforted by the pious Veronica, who wipes his face. In April 1588 the bishop of Florence Alessandro de 'Medici commissioned Giovanni Balducci to paint a Last Supper (still there). The bishop donated the painting to the Cathedral and it was hung over the altar in the chapel of Saint Zenobius, where it can still be seen today. The Opera del Duomo then decided to order two similar paintings from Balducci for the central chapels of the tribunes of the Cross and the Madonna, paintings Balducci completed in just a few months. They were part of the temporary decorations ordered to celebrate the wedding of Grand Duke Ferdinando I de 'Medici and Christine of Lorraine (1589). This painting depicts an episode that is not mentioned in the Gospels, but it is traditionally included in the Stations of the Cross, which narrates Christ’s journey carrying the Cross to his place of execution. The scene invites meditation on Veronica’s piety, on her understanding of the immense value of Christ’s sacrifice and on her attempt to alleviate his suffering. 

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