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.