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Over a century after this crucifix was made (c. 1408), Vasari recounted an anecdote about this crucifix. The tale goes that when Brunelleschi saw this crucifix, he said that Christ looked like a farmer. Donatello challenged him to do better. When Donatello then saw Brunelleschi's crucifix in Santa Maria Novella, he dropped his groceries in amazement and admitted defeat. Other sixteenth century sources mention that these two works were in competition. As many scholars have emphasized, the anecdote reveals more about Vasari than about Donatello and Brunelleschi, but Brunelleschi was in some senses competing with Donatello, whose earlier example he must have known, in that his crucifix is very different. Donatello gave Christ powerful muscles and in many ways an idealized body, almost struggling heroically to hold himself up on the cross, whereas Brunelleschi shows Christ as still muscular, but thinner, his ribs and the taut tendons in his thin arms protruding. Donatello showed suffering in Christ's face, with shaggy locks of hair falling over the forehead and and a rough visage that almost looks battered. Brunelleschi, in contrast, idealized Christ's face and hair. If there was a competition, Brunelleschi won, in that his crucifix was the model for almost all images of Christ on the Cross (painted or sculpted) that followed, including Masaccio's Trinity, whereas Donatello's was not really copied at all, which suggests how radical Donatello's image of Christ was. As discovered in a restoration campaign in the 1970s, the shoulders are attached with hinges, so that the body of Christ could be removed from the cross on Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, in a ritual reenactment of the Deposition and Lamentation. Another restoration in 2002-3 demonstrated that the cross is original and, despite being made of wood, painted with a faux wood grain (to preserve it but also possibly to mimic the specific grain depicted in a fresco of the True Cross in the same church). The photographs here were taken when the sculpture was on display in an exhibition at the Museo Diocesano in Padua, affixed to a modern cross. The sculpture is made of pear wood, but not one hollow trunk with some additions as was generally done. Instead it is solid and composed of thick planks, with the head and part of the torso and hips made of separate pieces. The well-preserved polychromy (unlikely to be by Donatello -- attributed by some to Bicci di Lorenzo) includes delicately painted long eyelashes and hair tendrils falling on the shoulders (where they are not sculpted), as well as glazes that emphasize the sculptural modelling. The hair has traces of gilding. Despite sources as early as 1510 attesting to Donatello's authorship, a few scholars have suggested a different attribution, and the rest, while agreeing on the attribution, have proposed different dating. As pointed out by Margrit Lisner, however, the crucifix is closely related to an image of Christ in Pietà sculpted above the Porta della Mandorla of the cathedral, which is documented as having been made by Donatello in 1408. The crucifix is currently housed in the Bardi Chapel in Santa Croce in Florence but was originally displayed in the middle of the church, near the choir screen. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.