A Fine Small French Hollow Cast Gilt Bronze of Christ on the cross ‘Cristo Morto’
Size: 18cm high, 14.5cm wide – 7 ins high, 5¾ ins wide
Provenance: Ex collection Charles Harrison, Oxford
From the 13th century onwards, images based on the passion of Christ became increasingly common. St Francis of Assisi (1182 – 1226) placed a special emphasis on the humanity of Christ and since then the most difficult task for the artist or sculptor seeking to represent Christ is to know how to depict Christ’s dual nature: fully human and fully divine. Over time he came to embody the duality of victor and victim, saviour and sacrifice, King of Kings and ‘despised and rejected of men’, and artists found different ways of depicting these two key themes of incarnation within a single image. St Francis taught that the sympathy of our response to the image of Christ crucified must be tempered by guilt and resolution for this pain and grief are our fault. Christ’s sufferings are commensurate with our sins and our love and faith in him must lead to our sinning no more. The image is meant to change our lives.