- Museum number
The Crucifixion; Christ on the Cross, with the weeping Virgin and an older male figure at left, Mary Magdalene embracing the foot of the cross, St John the Evangelist and St Longinus to right, a town and hills in the distance. 1568
Hand-coloured engraving with bodycolour, heightened with gold and white, printed on blue-grey silk
- Production date
Height: 320 millimetres
Width: 248 millimetres (sight measurement)
- Curator's comments
- See text from Michael Bury, 'The Print in Italy 1550-1620', BM 2001, no.32:
The silk support of this engraving by Cort is woven with a double warp thread and a single, thin weft, giving an especially lustrous quality. It is mounted on paper, and there is an inscription on the paper backing, dated 1575, describing 'this illuminated crucified Christ made by the miniaturist Don Giulio Clovio' (questo crucifisso di Miniatura fatto da D. Julio Clovio Miniatore). This must mean that as well as being the designer of the print, Clovio also illuminated it. By this means the engraving was transformed into an exquisite unicum.
This printing excludes the lower margin and thus it is not possible to determine with certainty the state of the plate. However it may be guessed that it was printed from the first state, while Clovio still had possession of it. By 1573 it seems to have been acquired by Lafreri, for it is probably to be identified with the 'Christ on the Cross of Don Giulio' itemized in his stocklist of that year (Ehrle, 1908, p.57, line 417).
A black chalk drawing by Clovio in the British Museum is the same way round as the engraving and could have been done in preparation for it (Gere and Pouncey, 1983, no.69). There are however significant changes between the drawing and the print: most prominently the introduction of the kneeling figure of the Magdalene, the transformation of the original Magdalene into Longinus and the raising of the Cross relative to the flanking figures. The figures in the engraving are very slightly smaller than in the drawing.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1964, BM, Michelangelo, no.122
2001/2 Sep-Jan, BM, P&D, The Print in Italy 1550-1620, no.32
2002 Feb-Mar, New York, Miriam & Ira D Wallach AG, The Print in Italy
2002/3 Sep-Jan, Ottawa, NG of Canada, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
2003 Feb-Apr, Edinburgh, NG of Scotland, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
2007 Mar-Apr, BM, Easter Passion exhibition.
2019, 13 Sep–13 Dec, USA, University of San Diego, University Galleries, Christ: Life, Death and Resurrection, Italian Renaissance Drawings & Prints from the British Museum
2020, 25 Jan–28 Sep, USA, Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum of Art, The birth, death and resurrection of Christ: from Michelangelo to Tiepolo
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Information on provenance from Nicholas Stogdon (personal communication, July 2012). Celotti sale (Christie's, 26.v.1825, 'A Catalogue of a Highly Valuable and Extremely Curious Collection of Illumined Miniature Paintings of the Greatest Beauty, and of Exquisite Finishing, Taken from the Choral Books of the Papal Chapel in the Vatican, during the French Revolution; and subsequently collected and brought to this Country by the ABATE CELOTTI ... The whole are described in a Catalogue, drawn in Chronological series by a gentleman well versed in the History of early Italian Art.[Ottley?]'), lot 90: 'A gilt frame, glazed with plate glass, containing an impression on satin from a copper plate, of the Crucifixion, engraved, in 1568, by Cort, after the design of Clovio; beautifully worked up in body colours and gold by the hand of the original Artist; who has added his name at one corner of the piece. Of the value which was set upon this work by the person to whom, in all probability, Clovio himself presented it, some idea may be formed from an inscription on the back of it, to the following purport; 'On the 2d of February, 1575, I Luigi Fiume, being obliged to go into France, left in deposit this Cricifixion in Miniature, done by D. Giulio Clovio, Miniature painter, with the understanding that I am to receive it again, whenever I please, from Monsignor [Lorenzo] Bianchetto, Auditore di Rota, for which deposit his Reverence has given me a receipt written by his own hand.' This description is preceded by the remark that 'Although the following piece has never appertained to any Choral Book, still, as a performance of Giulio Clovio, we have thought proper to place it here'.
Purchased at the Celotti sale by Francis Douce (1757-1834); bequeathed by him to Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick (1783-1848); subsequently kept in The Doucean Museum, Goodrich Court, near Ross-on-Wye, the bequest consisted largely of Douce's 'miscellaneous antiquities' but also included paintings and some 'curiosities' among which framed items may have been numbered, as one would otherwise have expected this engraving to have gone with the prints, books and manuscripts to Oxford. Bequeathed to his second cousin Col. William Henry Meyrick (d.1865); inherited by his son Col. (later Lt.-Gen.) Augustus W. H. Meyrick (1826-1902); 1552 items from the combined Meyrick and Douce collections were exhibited at the South Kensington Museum, from 26 Dec.1868 for three years, with a catalogue by J. R. Planché, and then dispersed (Sale, London, Christie's, Nov. 23, 1872, 'Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures, Water-Colour Drawings, Engravings, &c., of Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, Deceased, removed from Gooderich [sic] Court.'), lot 35 ('The Crucifixion, by Giulio Clovio, on silk. See inscription at back'), £5.5.0 to Waters.
Rosalind Lowe, author of "Sir Samuel Meyrick & Goodrich Court" (Logaston Press, 2003) states that Augustus Meyrick inherited directly from his great-uncle, Samuel Meyrick; this print was therefore never in the possession of William Henry Meyrick. [Information from Rosalind Lowe, email correspondence 10 February 2015]
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number