(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)

The Crucifixion of Christ and the Two Thieves

Red chalk, 394 x 281 mm
British Museum, London

This composition has long been known under the title The Three Crosses. The crosses of Christ and the two thieves rise high, towering above all earthly things. The good thief Dismas is already hanging lifelessly from the cross-beam to the Saviour's right, while the bad thief Gestas appears to leaning forward toward the henchman, who is about to strike his feet. The figure of Christ stands out against the two crucified men at his sides because of the higher position of the Y-shaped cross to which he is nailed.

The intended purpose of this composition cannot be established with certainty, it was probably a draft for a drawing, now lost, that was populated with more figures.