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Corpus Christi

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Corpus Christi

Culture Group: Italian
Culture: Italian
Date: c. 1550
Medium: Alabaster
Dimensions:
.A: Height: 35 3/8 inches (89.9 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Label Text:This crucifixion was made in Italy during the Renaissance (1300s-1500s), when finely rendered, naturalistic depictions of the human form were considered representative of a person’s spirituality. The sculpture’s anatomical proportions are precise, and the figure realistically falls away from the upper cross, head drooping, as if the body had died from suffocating.

The crucifix was carved out of expensive alabaster stone, valued for its translucency. It belongs to the Christus Patiens tradition, which depicts Jesus Christ dead on the cross. The figure and finely carved piece above its head would originally have been affixed to an actual cross. The lettering reads “INRI” (His Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum), Latin for "This is the King of the Jews," a mocking title given to Christ by the Romans in the 1st century CE.
Provenance: Purchased in 2001 through (Il Segno Del Tempo, Milan) by Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 2001.33.1