active ca. 1340-1360 )
tempera on wood
30.5 x 16 in, framed
77.47 x 40.64 cm
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
Painted on a background of punched gold, Jesus takes his last breath on the cross, flanked by angels. Mary Magdalene, in red, cries at Christ’s feet while John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary stand to Christ’s left and right sides; John raises a hand to his face in sorrow. Above Christ’s head, a pelican pierces her breast to save her children with her own blood, a common metaphor for Christ’s sacrifice for his Church. Allegretto Nuzi likely painted this Crucifixion panel while living in Florence during an early phase in his career. By employing the style of painting known as Italian Gothic, Nuzi emphasizes a sense of naturalism and perspective, bringing the images to life and making the figures and their emotions accessible to the viewer. This panel was probably from a much larger altarpiece.