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The Crucifixion in British collections, 1000-1350: a comparative study

the 'Noli me Tangere' iconography on the top left (where Mary Magdalene meets the risen Christ, in John 20:17), and the scene of Judas's kiss which identifies Christ to the Romans in the bottom left hand corner (Matthew 26:47-50 and Mark 14:44-45) (V. and A. Museum, "The Soissons Diptych").

The curve of Christ's body on the cross, in the Crucifixion scene found in the centre right panel, and the suggestion of agony in the twisted posture was typical of devotional objects after around 1250, as with the Italian example by Pisano (Figure 2). The influence of St. Francis of Assisi was leading to the development of a deeply bodily form of devotion, which encouraged empathy with Christ's suffering and veneration of his wounds (Vauchez, Dobson and Lapidge 387).


In all the representations brought together here, the purpose and medium of each artwork is closely tied to the way in which the Crucifixion story is portrayed. Throughout the Romanesque and Gothic styles in the European visual arts, the body of Christ was the primary referent for an artistic practice firmly connected to devotional and ecclesiastical patronage. Alongside the differences in purpose, media and role touched upon here, it is the different emotional and empathetic treatment of Christ's agony which tells us the most about the development of the role and purpose of visual art in the medieval period.

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