Benedetto or Giuliano da Maiano
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This under life-size crucifix, currently housed in the Museo d'Arte Sacra in San Gimignano, was originally kept in the sacristy in the Collegiata in San Gimignano. This portable object was used during particular liturgical occasions: displayed on the wooden pulpit during Advent and Lent (possibly an object to which the priest would refer in sermons) and carried in procession inside the church on Good Friday (the day Christ was crucified). Unusually, we also have a payment document to Giuliano da Maiano dated 1474. This does not completely clarify the authorship, however, as Giuliano could have been named as the artist or just as the head of his family's shop, and so some scholars have suggested Benedetto da Maiano instead. This well-preserved crucifix is made of painted wood, with a cloth dipped in gesso and formed around the sculpted body for the delicate loincloth. Recent restoration revealed the original polychromy, which is finely done, including individual strands of hair painted on the shoulders, along with the sculpted locks. Christ is here still alive, barely, with eyes and mouth slits. The original cross is covered with leaves, a reminder that this is the Tree of Life, and that the wood of the cross was thought to have come from the tree that grew from the seed planted in Adam's mouth. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.