The Crucifixion

Buoninsegna di Duccio (school of), - 1318

The Crucifixion

Buoninsegna di Duccio (school of) - 1318


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.

Display Label

The Crucifixion around 1330 An artist close to Duccio di Buoninsegna active 1278 - 1318 Tempera on panel This painting was once thought to be by Duccio, the famous Sienese artist. Experts now believe it to be by one of his followers. The painter shared Duccio’s interest in human drama, love of rich colours and abstract patterns. It shows the moment of Christ’s death on the cross. On His right are His friends, His mother, Mary and Mary Magdalene. To his left are His accusers. The rock on which the cross stands splits to reveal the skull of Adam. Christ’s blood spills down on to it. The Roman centurion, one of His former detractors, points to Christ and utters the words: Truly this was the Son of God. The panel was probably a private devotional work, a meditation on the meaning of the crucifixion Purchased with the aid of the Art Fund, Paul Getty II, The Henry Moore Foundation, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund , The Pilgrim Trust, the Corporate Patrons and Friends of Manchester City Galleries and private donations 1984.53

Object Name

The Crucifixion

Date Created



Panel: 59.7cm x 38cm
Frame: 74cm x 52cm
Shadow Box Frame: 87cm x 65cm

accession number


Place of creation





Tempera on panel


Purchased with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund, Mr. J Paul Getty II, Private Donors, the Henry Moore Foundation, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, the Pilgrim Trust, Manchester Art Galleries Art Fund, and various other donors via the Corporate Patrons and Associates and The Friends of Manchester City Galleries.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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