UNKNOWN MASTER, Italian
(active late 12th century)
Crucifix with the Stories of the Passionaround 1200
Tempera on wood, 377 x 231
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
This painting, one of the oldest in the Uffizi, was for many years given a general attribution to the Italian school of the twelfth century. Later, a close study of the clear, bright colours used in the small stories revealed the influence of miniature painting and the Byzantine taste of the composition, although with personal touches in the amusing narration which in places verges on the grotesque. The work is seen as significant evidence of the early influence of Pisan-Oriental art in Florence.
The painting follows the Western iconographic formula of Christus triumphans. In the scenes of the Passion the artist has emphasized the most essential and dramatic moment of the action which unfolds itself in a single rapid movement of an expressionistic and popular tone.