Inscription on the bottom of the frame: AVE MARIA GRATIE PLENA DOMINUS TEC[UM]; at the base of the frame are two coats of arms: of the Barbarori family on the right side; the one on the left hand side is unidentified.
Santa Maria in Monteluce, Perugia (before 1903); Berlin, Skulpturensammlung/Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum (1904-1939); Berlin, storage (1939-1945); Soviet Union, secret storage (1945/46-1958); East Berlin, Skulpturensammlung/Bode-Museum (1958-1990); Berlin, Skulpturensammlung/Bode-Museum (1990-present).
Bought in 1903 (through the gift of James Simon) as by a Florentine Master, ca. 1450, together with a David by Antonio di Banco (Inv. SKS 2794), for 8,540 Mark. Acquisition file n°I. 3789/03 (Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin).
Schätze der Weltkultur von der Sowjetunion gerettet, East Berlin, National-Galerie and Pergamonmuseum, 1958, cat. D 76.
Curatorial files in the Bode-Museum
• Correspondence between Luciano Bellosi and Michael Knuth (1997-2007); see comment.
• Michael Knuth (April 1996) attribution to Dello Delli (on the basis of a Crucifixion from Careggi published in B. Borngässer, “Die Apsisdekoration der alten Kathedrale zu Salamanca”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorisches Institutes in Florenz, XXXI, 1987, p. 273 fig. 30).
This work is a pathetic yet beautiful vision of the moment of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ: aspects of pure drama (such as the fainting Virgin Mary on the left foreground, surrounded by the Magdalene, St John and another Mary; or the suffering of the bad thief on the right-hand cross) are presented next to careful anatomical studies (such as Christ or the Roman soldier in the right foreground). The main interest of this work lies in the eclectic capacity of its author to switch from the “high” culture of the Renaissance, with foreshortening based on perspectival and anatomical studies (the two thieves and their crosses), to “low” culture related to popular devotion, sometimes at the limits of caricature (the standing Roman soldiers at the feet of the Cross).
The plinth of the relief’s frame bears the inscription “Ave Maria Gratia Plena, Dominus Tecum”, which has led to the assumption that it did not originally belong with the relief, as the salutation to the Virgin is better suited to an Annunciation or a Virgin and Child (see Schottmüller 1913 and 1933); however the frame appears to be original to the relief. The armorial shield at the bottom-right of the frame is that of the Barbadori family; the one on the left is unidentified, even though it is close to that of the Florentine Ricasoli family – it is possibly the shield of a family from Perugia, where the relief comes from (it is said to come from the church of Santa Maria in Monteluce in Perugia, which was rebuilt during the 16th century). Schottmüller 1913 saw affinities with the works of Sienese sculptors of the second half of the 15th century: Neroccio de’ Landi, Vecchietta, Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Giacomo Cozzarelli. The latter artist was suggested as the author of the work by Bode 1916, followed by Bange 1933 and Schottmüller 1933, while Meller 1963 thought of the eccentric Florentine artist who went to Spain, Dello Delli. Another Florentine artist who went to Spain has been the most cited author of the relief: Giuliano di Nofri, also called Giuliano Fiorentino. This proposition of Schubring 1919 (see also Schubring 1921) was recently reassessed by Franci 2001 and has been endorsed by Gentilini 2007: the affinities of the Berlin relief with the marble decoration of the Cathedral of Valencia, especially the reliefs of the Crucifixion and Samson Breaking the Doors of Gaza, are indeed quite compelling. Giancarlo Gentilini (oral communication, May 2014) made an interesting confrontation with another Crucifixion in the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum in Budapest, which may be by the same artist (cart
Entstehungsort stilistisch: Siena