(active c. 1229-c. 1254 in Pisa)
Tempera on wood, 316 x 285 cm
San Domenico, Bologna
From the beginning of the 13th century the Berlinghieri, a family of painters (Berlinghiero and his sons Barone, Marco and Bonaventura), were working in Lucca. They were influenced by the new wave of Byzantinism which reached the peninsula after the capture of Constantinople by the crusaders. This courtly refined style had its first and greatest centre of expansion in Pisa. This was owing to the very strong links between this maritime republic and the East, and also to several remarkable artists such as Giunta Pisano, Enrico and Ugolini di Tedice and the anonymous painter now known as the Master of S. Martino. The element of pathos in the Byzantine style was given its most extreme expression in the crucifixes of Giunta. The one painted in 1236 (which is now lost) for Elias of Cortona, the founder of the basilica of S. Francesco at Assisi, was inspired, like all Giunta's other crucifixes, by the Eastern iconography of the 'Christus patient', that is the Brother of Man in His suffering. Under the influence of the Franciscans this interpretation was definitely substituted for the heroic Christ, impassive, triumphing over death.