Christ before Annas
Benedetto Buglioni, attributed to
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This painted terracotta sculpture is in one of the chapels of the Sacro Monte at San Vivaldo. The Sacro Monte (literally sacred mountain) is a pilgrimage site built by the Franciscans. Small chapels each contain painted terracotta sculptures with events from the Passion of Christ. These chapels are arranged on the hilly terrain so that they evoke the actual geography in the Holy Land of the places in which the events occurred. In a time in which pilgrimage to the Holy Land was for the most part impossible (because the territory was under Muslim control), the Sacro Monte offered a substitute or a simulacrum that was thought to be efficacious. In 1516, at the request of the Franciscans of San Vivaldo, Pope Leo X promulgated a brief granting indulgences (time off purgatory) to all who visited the site, which made it a major pilgrimage destination. At this and other Sacri Monti (of which there are several in Lombardy and Piedmont), devotees were to come in penitence, perhaps at night with a lantern, and move from chapel to chapel saying prayers. In this scene Christ is brought before the high priest Annas, who sits on a magnificent throne, holding his gloves (a sign of authority). The soldier in the middle seems about to hit Jesus (or to have just have done so). The faded fresco background adds to the illusion that this is a veritable throng, which continues back into the courtyard painted in perspective. This sculpture has been attributed on the basis of style to Benedetto Buglioni, who specialized in terracotta. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.