This crucifix was made by an unknown local artist at the end of the sixteenth century for the high altar of the newly constructed Augustinian church in Matera, Santa Maria delle Grazie (also known as Sant'Agostino). After the monastery was suppressed, in 1903 the contents of the church were dispersed, including this crucifix, which was moved to the rural church of the Madonna dei Derelitti. This church fell into disrepair, as did the crucifix, which was moved by the Soprintendenza to storage in 1988. The crucifix was restored in 2018 and placed in San Giovanni Battista in Matera. The photographs from the restoration show the terrible state of preservation of the crucifix -- how before restoration it was in pieces, with degradation to both the paint surface and to the structure of the wood itself. Not only because of the preservation problems, but also because of the style, this crucifix looks much older than it is -- the body is completely frontal, lacking in the dramatic torsion that generally characterizes crucifixes of the period. The emphasis is on suffering, with the protruding ribcage, attenuated arms, eyes closed, and mouth open. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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