Crucifixion figure of the dead Christ
Romanesque, around AD 1100
From France, probably Anjou
This figure of Christ is one of the most beautiful surviving bronzes of its period. It is executed to a very high standard. The fine level of detail is well illustrated in the detailed modelling of the hair and the beard, with its double row of curls.
As well as being of outstanding quality, the Christ figure is much larger than the great majority of Romanesque bronzes. The emaciated figure is designed to provoke sympathy with Christ's sufferings. The rib cage is exposed and exploited for its emotional resonance and for its purely decorative qualities. The legs are very thin, the arms, although now missing, were most likely disproportionately long and thin to emphasize the weight of the dead Christ.
A similar figure exists in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Angers. This example was formerly at Le Mans, also in northern France, which might suggest a possible area of origin.
J. Robinson, Masterpieces: Medieval Art (London, British Museum Press, 2008)
P. Bloch, Romanische Bronzekruzifice (Berlin, Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1992)