unknown Tuscan artist
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This small crucifix in the Museo d'Arte Sacra in San Gimignano has been set against a painted wood panel with the symbols of the Passion, reminders of each incident in Christ's final days. So the the cock evokes the moment when Peter denies Christ before the cock crows, the dice the casting of lots over Christ's cloak, etc. The crucifix can be dated for stylistic reasons to the fourteenth century -- it is, broadly speaking of a type established by Giovanni Pisano, body hanging low with long stretched arms, concave abdomen, head falling to one side, etc. Both the crucifix and the panel behind are made of the same materials, tempera on wood, but it is difficult to date either with any accuracy. The panel may well have been added later, and perhaps originally devotees could hold the crucifix, in order to make their prayers more immediate. (Paintings and prints show people holding such objects as a focus for their devotions.) Even if the back panel may not be original, the symbols serve to remind of the kind of devotions that were performed with such objects, as outlined in such popular manuals from the period as the Meditations on the Life of Christ, in which the faithful are encourage to meditate on each event of the Passion. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.