Crucifixion with Saints Francis and Jerome

L*A, ambito veneziano

Modern print from woodcut matrix, 399 x 271 x 24mm

This woodcut from the Modenese Soliani collection was purchased by Adolfo Venturi in 1887 for the Galleria Estense collections. 

The Crucifixion recalls the work of illustrators in the second half of the sixteenth century and regularly corresponds to the most widespread figurative canons (the so-called Kanonbilder) of Renaissance missals. In terms of the classical figurative model, the additional presence of Saints Francis and Jerome at the Crucifixion detracts from the scene. Yet, like the figure of the Magdalen, these saints are exemplary in their penitence and imitation of sacrifice. Other archetypal figurative elements from the woodcut tradition are the Sun and Moon that cry at the far edges (reminiscent of the Bible description of the sky growing dark at the moment of Christ’s death) and the skyline of Jerusalem that stands out in the background with its steeples and crenelated walls. The original signature―the monogram ‘L*A’―found at the bottom on the frame has been subject to various interpretations and is associated with countless woodcuts made on the Venetian scene during the sixteenth-century. Some scholars assert that Florentine wood-carver Luc’Antonio degli Uberti may have been behind the monogram, his work present in more than sixty publications in the lagoonal city in the first half of the sixteenth century.