CHRIST CRUCIFIED

SOUTHERN FRANCE

C. 1200, GILT BRONZE, H. 16.5 CM

This unusually expressively modelled figure of Christ Crucified has, like the majority of similar works, survived without the cross. The corpus twists slightly to the left and emphasises the tension in the body created by the parallel knees angled to the left and the feet – that would originally have been resting on a suppedaneum – to the right.
The arms are stretched out like the wings of an eagle in flight, the palms of the hands tilted downwards. The head is inclined, the open eyes lowered, looking to the right. A thick, wavy beard frames the cheeks and chin. A wide crown with four points rests on a head of hair parted in the middle. Three thick strands of hair fall both sides of the face onto the shoulders. The torso is marked by a pronounced, rounded ribcage; the navel is traced as a circle on a trapeze-shaped stomach.
The folds of material are of exceptional plasticity. The loincloth, reaching from the bottom right to the left thigh, is tied at the top and fixed with a cingulum; the end hanging loosely over the right thigh. This results in a strongly animated pattern of folds that flows in bold, geometrically meandering, layers down the exposed left thigh. The right thigh is clearly modelled underneath the material (cf. Bloch 1992, group VI, crucifix with diagonal end of loincloth, p. 239ff).
The diagonal structure of the cloth is comparable to that on a crucifix now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London that was probably made in the late 12th century in the Rhine-Meuse region.