La crocifissione (c.1504-1505)

Signorelli, Luca (c.1445-1523)

La crocifissione (The Crucifixion)
Tempera, oil, and gilding on panel, 72.5 x 101.3 cm
National Gallery of ArtWashington

In this horizontal painting, a crowd of more than two dozen men and women gathered shoulder to shoulder at the foot of three men hanging from wooden crosses nearly fill the scene. All the people have pale or ruddy skin. To our left of center, each of the crucified men is tied and nailed to a cross. Blood pours from their hands and feet, and from a gash over the central man’s right ribs. The men’s heads slump and their bodies sag. They are nude except for a red cloth across the central man’s hips and a small white loincloth on the man to our right. Two of the men wear crowns of thorns. The spear piercing the central man’s side is held by a man riding a white horse in the crowd below. At least three additional men in the crowd are on horseback. Many of the men are armed with spears, creating a bristle of vertical and diagonal lines over the group. The men and women wear robes and uniforms in shades of golden yellow, pine green, crimson and rust red, black, and cream white. A few men wear metal helmets, and one wears armor. Near the lower left corner, a woman wearing a navy-blue robe has fainted and is supported by two kneeling women while another woman and cleanshaven man look on, their fingers interlaced and held low. The smooth ground is grass green. A spindly tree with dark green leaves grows up the right side of the composition. Off in the distance beyond the tree, two buildings hint at a city. Blue clouds billow in the blue sky above. (NGA)