60.2 cm x 47.3 cm (23 11/16 in. x 18 5/8 in.)
Simone dei Crocifissi (Simone da Bologna)
(Bologna, Italy, 1330 - 1399, Bologna, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Tempera with gold leaf on wood panel
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Normalizing the style of his brilliant teacher, Vitale da Bologna, Simone became the leading painter in Bologna in the second half of the 14th century. His appellation owes to his execution of several monumental depictions of the Crucifixion for major churches in that city. By the 1360s, having built his reputation, he added small-scale polyptychs for private devotion as another specialty.
This painting offers a particularly efficient synopsis of the principal mysteries and foundation of the Christian church. The dark underpainting, which heightens contrasts and modeling in the flesh tones, the delicate drawing, and the relatively loose application of paint are characteristic of the Bolognese school of the period. And the prosaic charm and accessibility of the personalities is typical of Simone’s style. Exceptional, however, is the condition of this work, with the paint surface practically undisturbed, the gold leaf revealing its original patterns of application, and even the complex finials of the frame unrestored.