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Home > Auctions > 29th November 2022 > Cretan School Pedestal Cross Base with 'Descent from the Cross' Gilt Painted Scene

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LOT 0408

GBP (£) 12,000 - 17,000
EUR (€) 13,990 - 19,830
USD ($) 14,730 - 20,870

Sold for (Inc. bp): £12,636


41 in. (8 kg, 104 cm wide).

A hollow-constructed wooden stepped pedestal with socket to accept a devotional cross; gesso surface with moulded edging and gilt finish; painted scene of the 'descent from the Cross' and 'lamentation of the Christ' with Christ laid out on the Holy Shroud surrounded by sorrowful Mary Magdalene, Virgin Mary, Mary of Clopas, St John the Evangelist, Saint Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus holding a ladder in the background; coffin with open cover to the left, cave of Golgotha to the right with skull, landscape with city of Jerusalem in the background.

Property of a London lady, part of her family's collection.
Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D’Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no. 11542-196369.

Cf. Popescu, G.A., Cristiani d'Oriente, spiritualità, arte e potere nell'Europa Post-Bizantina, Milano, 1999, figs.109,111; Sinkević, I., Windows to the Heaven, treasures from the Museum of Russian Icons, Easton, 2017, no.R2003.12; see Lazarev, V. N., Russian icon painting from the origins to the beginning of the 16th century, Moscow, 2000.

In the Orthodox world, single wooden crosses representing the Stavrosis (Crucifixion) were positioned as icons in their own right, with candles placed in front of them as offering for the dead. It is a tradition that dates back to Byzantium, and was continued in the Slavic Orthodox world with the creation of splendid painted wooden crucifixes placed on equally beautifully painted pedestals. In this case the complex representation includes all the elements of the Gospel that recall the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. Christ has been taken down from the cross and is surrounded by his loved ones. His muscular body highlights the wound in his right side procured by Longinus' spear. The pain of the mother, the piety of Mary, is expressed here with the mute silence of the Madonna, who holds her son's head, which contrasts with the pain manifested by the other bystanders. Saint Joseph of Arimathea, who procured the tomb and the sacred sheet, devoutly holds the feet of Christ. The right side of the scene shows the Golgotha, symbol of the human death of Christ. The left of the scene shows the open tomb, symbol of the human and divine Resurrection of Christ. The sacred sheet, loose inside the sepulchre with open lid, appears as a symbol of the saving grace of the Resurrection. The city in the background represents ancient Jerusalem transformed into its heavenly equivalent through the Resurrection of Christ.