Giovanni di Balduccio (attr.), Crucifix

Giovanni di Balduccio (attr.)
Sala della Maddalena
Original location
Baptistery of Saint John
Wood, pigments
Sculpture, painting
Height: 274,5 cm; Width: 171 cm; Depth: 45 cm;

A crucifix in polychrome wood from the Baptistery by Giovanni di Balduccio of circa 1330. This crucifix originally hung over the Baptistery altar next to the Paradise Gates on the building’s north-eastern side. The figure of Christ unusually has hinged arms, raised and lowered by a mechanism concealed behind the shoulders. Thus the Christ could be removed from the cross and laid with his arms by his sides to create a different version of the work, one which was traditionally used for the Good Friday liturgy when the congregation mourned His death and entombment. Both the colors and the way the figure is carved emphasize the devotional nature of the work: the contracted body, the tense muscles and the abundant flow of blood all combine to exalt the suffering of Christ, God made flesh. According to historical sources, this statue was dear to the Florentines because it was thought to be made from the wood of the elm tree which had miraculously flowered as the body of Florence’s bishop, Saint Zenobius, was borne past. This miracle is commemorated in Piazza San Giovanni by Saint Zenobius’ Column. 

Discover the other artworks

Sala della Maddalena