John Singer Sargent
Preliminary Relief of Crucifixion 1897–9

Artwork details

John Singer Sargent 1856–1925
Preliminary Relief of Crucifixion
Date 1897–9
Medium Bronze and oak
Dimensions Object: 1118 x 787 x 89 mm
Acquisition Presented by A.G. Ross in accordance with the wishes of the late Robert Ross through the Art Fund 1919
Not on display

Display caption

The painter of society portraits, J.S.Sargent, was commissioned in 1890 to design murals for the new Public Library building in Boston, Massachusetts. These were a complete departure from his usual work. He chose as theme the history of religion. For this he used a variety of historical styles, Egyptian, Byzantine and classical, and incorporated relief sculpture and friezes of lettering. This Crucifix is a small model for a part of a wall showing 'The Dogma of Redemption'. Figures of Adam and Eve at either side of the cross collect Christ's blood, and below his feet is a traditional symbol of the resurrection, a pelican feeding its young with its blood. The cornice corresponds to part of the Library building.

August 2004

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