The Crucifixion
  • TitleThe Crucifixion
  • Technique/ MaterialWood: Poplar (populus sp.), egg tempera. Panel made of single board without splines.
  • DimensionsDimensions: (h x b x dj) 25 x 18,5 x 1 cm
    Frame: (h x b x dj) 45 x 37 x 2 cm
  • DatingExecuted början av 1400-talet
  • Artist/Maker Artist: Unknown
  • CategoryPaintings, Icons
  • Inventory No.NMI 292
  • AcquisitionInköp 1964
  • Description
    Images and media

    Description in Icons, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, 2004, NMI 292:

    Wood: Poplar (Populus sp.), egg tempera.
    Panel made of single board without

    PROVENANCE: Ilas Neufert; Acquired by the Museum in 1964
    BIBLIOGRAPHY: Galerie Fischer 1963, no
    1258; Bentchev 2000, pp 40–42; Haustein -
    Bartsch 2000, pp 15–16, 20–21, 86
    CONSERVATIONS: Restored prior to entering NM:
    Doerner Institut, Munich 1963/64: panel split and mounted on new panel,
    scattered retouches; NM 1965: minor paint losses remedied;
    cross-sectional sampling and chemical analysis. Minor losses of paint layers,
    especially from background; few remains of old varnish

    When offering this icon for sale to the Museum, Ilas Neufert of Munich informed the Museum
    that it had originally been part of a larger composition, namely two icon doors painted on both sides,
    acquired at an auction at Galerie Fischer in Lucerne on 21st June 1963 (lot no 1258), and
    partitioned and split up afterwards. Referring to the auction catalogue entry, he states that
    “all eight depictions emanate from the four sides of two icon doors, which in turn were fragments
    of a triptych or altar.”1

    Thus each door had four individual depictions, two on the outside and two
    on the inside. The eight motifs comprised three festival day depictions – the Baptism of Christ, the
    Crucixion, and the Descent into Hell – together with Solomon and David, John and Prochorus,
    Nicholas En throned, Luke Painting the Mother of God, and George and Mercurius.
    Each individual door measured 52 x 18.5.
    The technical processing – i.e. the partition and division – had, at Neufert’s request, been done
    at the Doerner Institute.2

    In letters to National museum, M. Chatzidakis, having seen several of
    the divided icons, is sceptical regarding their authenticity, mainly for technical reasons – the
    manipulation of the original panel – but also on account of the disparity of the style and subjects
    of the two doors.3

    The stylistic differences can possibly be put down to this altarpiece having
    comprised more units, painted by different hands. The Italian inuence in the Crucixion scene,
    coupled with the original dating to the 16th century, has prompted the supposition that this icon was
    painted under the inuence of Andreas Pavias, who was active in Crete. It shows certain similarities
    to his multigured Crucixion icon, now in the National Gallery, Athens (inv. no 144).4

    E.Haustein-Bartsch has brought this dating up for discussion. She writes:
    “The style of this icon from Stockholm, previously dated to the second half of the 16th century,
    suggests that it was painted before rather than after AndreasPavias’ icon, which was painted
    in the second half of the 15th century. The quality of the painting ... makes it a true masterpiece,
    undoubtedly the work of the same artist who painted the other two festival icons in this series.”5

    The most probable place of origin in this case is Crete, though a Byzantine provenance can not
    altogether be excluded. Of the eight individual icons which made up the original unit, three others
    have been traced in addition to Nation almuseum’s, namely Luke Painting the Mother of God, in
    the Icon Mu seum, Recklinghausen (inv. no 424), George and Mercurius and Solomon and David,
    both of which are in the private collection of Marianna Latsis in Athens.6

    1 “... dass es sich bei sämtlichen 8 Darstellungen um die vier Seiten von 2 Ikonen-Türchen
    handelt, die wiederum Fragmente für ein Triptychon oder einen Altar darstellten”
    Letter from I. Neufert to B. Wennberg, Director of the Department of Paintings, dated 9th
    October 1964, National museum archives.

    2 Letters from I. Neufert to B. Wennberg, dated 9th October 1964 and 12th October
    1964, Nation almuseum archives.

    3 Letters from M. Chatzidakis to B. Wennberg, dated 2nd October 1964 and
    18th November 1964, Nationalmuseum archives.

    4 Athens 1983, no 20.

    5 “Der Stil der bisher in die 2. Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts datierten Stockholmer
    Ikone spricht für eine Entstehung dieses Werkes eher vor als nach der von Andreas Pavias
    in der 2. Hälfte des 15. Jahrhunderts gemalten Ikone. Auf Grund der Qualitäten ihrer
    Malerei ... kann sie als wirkliches Meister werk gelten, das ohne Zweifel vom selben
    Künstler geschaffen wurde wie die beiden anderen Festtags ikonen unserer Reihe”,
    Haustein-Bartsch 2000, p 21.

    6 Kazanaki-Lappa 2000.