Crucifix

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
ivory, ebony, mahogany, silver, polychromy
Mark Descriptions
GAS / PARNU / NEZDE / LGADO / 1599
Dimensions
26 3/4 x 14 x 3 1/4 in.
Credit line
Gift of Walter E. and Tekla B. Wolf by exchange
Accession number
1995.24
Collection
Currently On View In
William L. and Jane H. Fortune Gallery - H214

The work of Gaspar Núñez Delgado announces the transition from Mannerism to Baroque in Spanish sculpture. This crucifix, dated 1599, marks the decisive moment in that transformation.  The languid elegance of his earlier style is replaced by a robust Baroque realism, characterized by a masterful command of anatomy and a profoundly human expression of anguish.

Eduardo Cano, Seville, by 1921. María Bauzá, Madrid, by 1950. Private Collection, London; (Caylus Anticuario, Madrid); purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1995 (1995.24).
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2820
New York, NY 10118
Tel: 212-736-6666
Fax: 212-736-6767
e-mail: info@vagarights.com
site: http://www.vaga.org/

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Gaspar Núñez Delgado is an artist whose lifetime straddles two centuries and whose work announces the stylistic transition from Mannerism to Baroque in Spanish sculpture. This crucifix, dated 1599, marks the decisive moment in that transformation. The languid, mannered elegance of the artist's earlier style is replaced by a robust Baroque realism, characterized by a masterful command of anatomy and a profoundly human expression of anguish. The carved ivory figure of Christ is enlivened by touches of color-red blood flows from his wounds, his hair and beard are painted brown, and the crown of thorns is green.

The cross upon which Christ expires is made of rough-hewn timbers that signify the Tree of Life. In a display of virtuoso craftsmanship, Núñez Delgado cut away the textured ebony "bark" in selected places to reveal inlays of polished mahogany heartwood. The titulus fastened to the top of the cross is inscribed in Hebrew and Greek: "This is Jesus the King of the Jews," following the gospels of Matthew and Luke. A silver plaque set into the cross just below Christ's feet is inscribed with the artist's name and the date.

Núñez Delgado's crucifix was made for religious as well as aesthetic contemplation. As an art object, it was doubtless appreciated for its precious materials and its extraordinary level of craftsmanship. As a religious object, it would have been valued for its capacity to stimulate devotion through its depiction of Christ's suffering.

And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying . . . My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
-Matthew 27:46