Crucifixion (Antonello da Messina)

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The Crucifixion is the subject of three different paintings by the Italian Renaissance master Antonello da Messina; the first two were completed around 1454/1455, the third in 1475. They are housed in the Brukenthal National Museum (Sibiu, Romania); the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Antwerp (Antwerp, Belgium) and in the National Gallery (London, UK), respectively.

The Sibiu Crucifixion
Antonello da Messina 026.jpg
Artist Antonello da Messina
Year 1454-1455
Type Oil on wood
Dimensions 39 cm × 23.5 cm (15 in × 9.3 in)
Location Brukenthal National Museum
Sibiu, Romania

The Sibiu Crucifixion[edit]

An early work appearing to be influenced by the Flemish school, the Sibiu Crucifixion was formerly attributed to an unknown 14th century German painter. A symbolic view of Messina is depicted in the background, probably an allusion to Jerusalem as requested by the unknown client, in a typical fashion of the time.

The Antwerp Crucifixion
Antonello da Messina 027.jpg
Artist Antonello da Messina
Year 1454-1455
Type Oil on wood
Dimensions 59.7 cm × 42.5 cm (23.5 in × 16.7 in)
Location Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Antwerp
Antwerp, Belgium

The Antwerp Crucifixion[edit]

The Antwerp Crucifixion represents Christ crucified between two evil-doers, with Mary and John the Evangelist seated on the ground. The work shows a landscape typical of the Flemish school in the lower part; the well devised spatial disposition of the crosses in the upper half demonstrates a full knowledge of the innovative method of perspective known to Italian art of the period. The Italian scholar Roberto Longhi asserted that the upper part was added several years later.

The London Crucifixion
Antonello da Messina 028.jpg
Artist Antonello da Messina
Year 1475
Type Oil on wood
Dimensions 42 cm × 25.5 cm (17 in × 10.0 in)
Location National Gallery
London, UK

The London Crucifixion[edit]

Belonging to a later phase, the London Crucifixion is one of the few paintings signed and dated by Antonello: "1475/antonellus messaneus/me pinxit". The geometrical composition is divided in two parts by the cross and the lake in the background, with the Virgin on the left and St. John on the right.

Further reading[edit]