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Crucifixion of Viterbo

Oil painting
half of the 16th century
Surrounding Michelangelo
cm. 50 x 40



The Crucifixion is traditionally attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti for its style and backed up by the testament of Count Paolo Brunamonti who in 1725 donated it to the Jesuits of S. Ignazio in Viterbo describing it as “work of Michelagelo Bonarota”.

The connections with the circle of Michelangelo are traceable in the entire piece and the anatomical study of the two thieves, as well as in the analysis of elements in the landscape especially the two buildings visible at the right side of the crucifixion which can be identified as the Bacucco baths which Michelangelo sketched.

There are some stylistic differences such as the organization and choice of characters shown. The figure of St. John (S.Giovanni) is the most closely derived from Michelangelo as we can see in the design of S.Giovanni with joined hands, kept in the Louvre.

On the back is a text referring to a plenary indulgence of Pope Alessandro VII Chigi dated June 20, 1655.



Recent studies connect the painting with that mentioned in a letter of the Marchesa of Pescara, Vittoria Colonna who lived in Viterbo at the time. These include investigations by Prof. Claudia Pelosi, Simona Rinaldi and costume historian Elisabetta Gnignera, an indepth study of the archeological structures by Dott. Giampaolo Serone of Archeoares and Dott. Antonio Rocca. Their studies have thrown new light on the connections between the letter and the painting as well as the cultural context of the city at the time and the presence of the Spirituali in Viterbo. You can read more on Ecclesia Viterbiensis on the blog as well as other articles describing the analysis done.

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