Bertoldo di Giovanni (ca. 1440–1491)
23 7/8 × 24 1/4 in. (60.5 × 61.5 cm)
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence (207B)
Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali; photo Mauro Magliani
At the moment of his death, Christ slumps forward as his soul leaves his body, hanging crucified between the penitent and impenitent thieves. To his right, the saved thief is lifeless and resigned to his mortality. To his left, the damned thief thrashes against the ties that bind him, one foot and one hand already wrestled free. In drapery, expression, and animation, these figures embody three distinct states from life to death. Below, mourners react in varied ways to the Crucifixion. To the left, St. Jerome, clasping a crucifix and rock, and St. Francis, with flaming stigmata, accompany the swooning Mary, mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene, standing at the base of the cross, laments dramatically, her garments swirling in agitation as she pulls out clumps of her hair in grief.
The Crucifixion originally decorated the palazzo of Lorenzo de' Medici, as did the Battle relief (also included in the exhibition).