Crocifissione tra i santi Cristoforo e Girolamo (a.1473 or c.1475-1478)

Pinturicchio (c.1454-1513)

Crocifissione tra i santi Cristoforo e Girolamo (Christ on the Cross between Sts. Christopher and Jerome)
Ante 1473 or c.14751478
Oil on panel, 59 x 40 cm
Galleria BorgheseRoma

This panel has been in the Borghese Collection only since 1891; its original destination is unknown. It probably formed part of a portable altarpiece that was meant for private worship, given the small size of the work. Its perfect conservational state allows us to appreciate its quasi-miniaturist technique, glazed colours and close attention to detail. The panel was executed by Bernardino di Betto Betti, called Pinturicchio, a painter from Perugia considered one of the great Umbrian masters of the second half of the Quattrocento.

The scene depicting the crucifixion of Christ is set in a broad landscape which is rendered with great care, close to Flemish styles. Jerome appears on one side in penitent’s clothing and with his inseparable lion. On the other we see Christopher, the good-natured giant who according to legend carried the young Jesus from one bank of a deep river to the other: in fact his name derives from the Greek word for ‘he who carries Christ’. (GB)