Manchester Art Gallery

The Crucifixion

Object description

A depiction of the Crucifixion of Christ showing the moment of His death. In the centre of the composition is the figure of Christ upon the cross; His head has fallen to one side revealing an expression of pain upon his face; blood runs from his hands, head, from the wound at his side, and streams down the cross from his feet. Flanking Him are the two thieves crucified at the same time, their bodies bound with rope to their smaller crosses. Each of the crucified figures are covered by loin cloths; that worn by Christ is transparent and bears an inscription. A chorus of six angels fill the surrounding air bearing expressions and gestures of grief. Beneath the crucified figures is a crowd reacting to the news of His death. To the left are the friends and followers of Jesus: the figure in the pink cloak standing at the base of the cross with head lowered and hands clasped is St John the Evangelist; the figure of the Virgin Mary, depicted in a dark blue cloak, is fainting and supported by Salome and Mary; and in the red cloak, with arms raised towards Christ, is Mary Magdalene. To the right are Christ's opponents: the postures of many of these soldiers and priests is upright and triumphant although this also appears as a moment of conversion for some of His detractors. Stood in the background nearest to the cross and wearing green is Longinus, who pierced Christ's side; the blood covered lance is still in his hand as he holds his other hand to his face looking up at the dead Christ, whose dripping blood said to have cured his blindness. In the bottom right corner is the dark, cowering figure of a Jew. The background is filled with brilliant gilding, symbolising the divine nature of the event and is also used to distinguish the Holy family on the left from the Mockers on the right.