Collection Online
Processional cross
Medium
tempera and gold leaf on wood
Accession Number
170-D5
Department
International Painting
Gallery location
Not on display
Provenance

Collection of Charles F. Worel, London by 1960 from whom acquired for the Felton Bequest on the advice of A.J.L. McDonnell, 1960.



Throughout the medieval period crosses were carried in various Christian processions. Some were decorated on both sides, showing the crucified Jesus dead, and also alive. Evoking his pain and triumph over death simultaneously, such crosses encapsulated the central Christian message: faith in God ensures deliverance from suffering, and resurrection to eternal life. This interpretation of the cross as life-giving is underscored here in the leaf-like ornamentation of the carved, gilded wood. The strikingly realistic, tender representations of Jesus, and the small size of the cross itself, suggest it was made in Florence during the fourteenth century for use in an intimate setting.