An 18thC Italian School Oil on Canvas of Christ on the Cross c.1780

Origin: Italian School
Period: Late 18thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1770-1790
Height: 36”
Width: 25.25”

Painted in oils on canvas, and apparently unsigned, depicting Christ on the cross, with the acronym INRI above, to the figures of Mary Magdalene and John the Evangelist amongst others below, the whole displaying an evocative time-worn texture and surviving from the second half of eighteenth-century Italy.

The condition of the painting is unrestored and unframed and is in as found order after having been relined and stablised. The obvious flaked losses make is very redolent and decorative. It is stable and is not now flaking. The reverse of the picture shows a paper depository label that reads ‘4689 M’ Billaud ???’.

Whether you are religious or not, the ubiquitous symbol of Christ on the cross has infiltrated European culture in many ways, expanding beyond Christian ritual and iconography. There is perhaps no other artistic subject matter that better reflects the development of art history. The demand for depictions of the suffering Christ allowed artists to propel and shape a powerful Biblical narrative that ultimately maintained the widespread practice of Christianity. It goes without saying that the symbolic image of the crucifixion has kept artists busy for centuries. Today, despite a shift away from religious and devotional paintings, artists have continued to explore the subject – an identifiable and universally understood metaphor for martyrdom and human suffering.

A hugely decorative work of good size and authority.