Michaelangelo has made multiple crucifixes, or simply wooden figures for a crucifix. The crucifix as a symbol is not only a powerful, religious image but also a representation of High Renaissance art.
Specifically, Michaelangelo is known for crafting beautiful crucifixes. Though it is said that these are not definitely attributed to Michaelangelo, at least two small crucifixes were produced in his earlier years.
The two crucifixes differ in material. One is made of wood, specifically polychrome, and is estimated to be completed in 1492. It disappeared from academics' minds until it popped up in 1962 - 470 years later. Doubts were squashed about the relationship between the crucifix and Michaelangelo in 2001 when investigations confirmed he had created the piece. The purpose behind its creation is debated. Some believe it was made for the Church of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito which is located in Florence, specifically for the high altar in the church. Unlike other crucifix works where Christ is covered with a cloth, this work is significant as Michaelangelo left him naked.
Being a guest of the covent at the Santa Maria church in Florence which perhaps inspired the creation of the crucifix, Michaelangelo was only seventeen years old at the time of the visit. He was able to study the anatomy of corpses which arrived from the covent's hospital. In return, he apparently created the famed crucifix which ultimately ended up on the high altar of the Santa Mario church.
Leaving Christ without a cloth to cover him is staying true to the story in the Gospels. It is said that Roman soldiers removed Christ's clothing. All of the Gospel writers record Christ being bare on the crucifix. Michaelangelo's decision may have been a conscious decision to stick with Christ's appearance in order to be faithful to the original stories.
In late 2008, the Italian government purchased a similar polychrome wooden crucifix specifically in limewood from the antique dealer Giancarlo Gallino for a total price of €3.2 million. This particular crucifix is half the size of the previous piece. Before it was purchased, it had been shown in the Museo Horne in Florence in 2004 at an exhibit.
There are a number of art historians who connected the work of this crucifix to Michaelangelo by the criteria of style. The actual sculpture is not recorded by Michaelanglo's biographers. The crucifix measures 41.3 centimetres x 39.7 centimetres. It has been estimated that it was created in 1495. In late 2009, there was an investigation initiated into the purchase of the crucifix by the Italian government.
Michaelanglo (born Michaelanglo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) was born on the 6th March 1475 and died on the 18th February 1564 aged 88 years old. He was known as an Italian sculptor, architect, painter and poet who was an important figure in the High Renaissance period. His creations have heavily influenced the Western art world. He is known as one of the best artists during his lifetime and as one of the most renowned artists of all time. He is known as an iconic Renaissance figure due to his versatility when it came to the different ways he expressed art and being able to exceed in many different schools. His main rival during his lifetime was the famous Leonardo da Vinci.
The word crucifix comes from the Latin cruci fixus which means fixed to a cross. Ultimately, it is the portrayal of Christ on the cross rather than a bare cross. The depiction of Christ himself nailed on the cross is referred to as the corpus which in Latin means body.
The crucifix is a powerful symbol which has a lot of meaning for many sects of Christianity. It was one of, if not the, most well known forms of the act of crucifixion in the aritistic world. It is most important to the Roman Catholic Church, however it is also used as a powerful symbol by Orthodox, Assyrian and Lutheran churches as well as many others. The symbol of the crucifix is not as easy to find in Protestant churches as these sects of Christianity rather use the representation of the cross without the corpus pinned to it. The purpose of the symbol of the crucifix is to highlight Christ's sacrifice for mankind's sins. His death by this particular execution is what brought redemption to the world. A lot of symbols that represent Christ nailed to the cross use a Latin form of the cross rather than any other alteration.
In Western culture, crucifixes are more common to have a 3D corpus attatched to the cross whereas Eastern cultures are more likely to paint Christ's frame onto the cross. If technicality is brought into this issue, the cross must be 3D, however this rule is not frequently abided by. If the event of Christ's crucifixion is depicted in a whole painting with a landscape and other actors in the scene then this is not considered to be a crucifix.
If a crucifix is placed across the centre of a church, they are known as rood which is an Old English term. By the time of the Late Middle Ages, these roods were a very common feature in Western cultures, however in present day they are hard to spot. In modern times, Roman Catholic churches position the crucifix above the altar. This is for the celebration of Mass.
Two crucifix sculptures have been attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti from an early part of his career.
Included in this page are two sketches completed by the artist of the same religious topic which continues to offer artists an incredibly powerful symbol to use within their work.