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Crucifixion (Hall 18)

Among the Renaissance works of clear Italian influence in this collection, there is no doubt that this crucifixion stands out. It is attributed to Burgos artist Bartolomé Ordóñez. His artistic activity can be traced from 1515 (when he established his studio in Barcelona) and 1520 (when he died in the Italian city of Carrara).

The scene shows the moment just before the descent from the cross. Christ appears in the center, and at his feet we see the swooning Virgin with the two Marys. The apostles, with their backs to the viewer and absorbed in their tasks, create a strong scenic effect.

The tranquil attitude of each character is striking, an energy which is visible in their gestures as well as their facial expressions. Not even the anatomy of the body of Christ is indicative of a crucifixion scene. Each of the figures is worked independently and is shown with its body strongly foreshortened.

The close stylistic relationship between the woodwork by Ordóñez in the choir of the Barcelona Cathedral and this museum piece lead one to believe that they may have been executed at the same time, around 1518. This would have coincided with other works the artist created in Barcelona, a time when he was at his prime.