CELLINI, Benvenuto
(b. 1500, Firenze, d. 1571, Firenze)


Marble, height 185 cm
Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial

This beautifully carved Crucifixion has a long history. Cellini made this beautifully carved Crucifixion following a vision that he had while he was a prisoner at Castel Sant'Angelo. Originally he planned to place it on his own tomb in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. He intended to place the work on a pillar in the transept of Santa Maria Novella, in a similar position to that of Brunelleshi's Crucifix in the opposite branch of the transept.

Due to a disagreement with the Dominicans he agreed with the Church of Santissima Annunziata to house his tomb and the sculpture. Later he gave up this plan and decided to sell the sculpture to Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Florence. The Crucifix was due to be placed in the private chapel at Palazzo Pitti. However, Cosimo died in 1574, and two years later Francesco I de' Medici had it sent off as a gift to Philip II of Spain for the Escorial, where it remains today.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.