The Crucifixion
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Austrian, Vienna, about 1420 - 1430
Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment

16 1/2 x 12 3/16 in.

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The Crucifixion, the only full-page miniature in this missal, prefaces the Canon of the Mass, the prayers said by the priest at the beginning of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus' drooping head, emaciated torso, and frail arms indicate how much he has suffered on the cross. To his sides, the Virgin Mary in her traditional blue robe and Saint John in a light green one display their grief subtly through pose and gesture. Against the salmon-colored ground, their large but delicate haloes blend in with the swirls of gold.

At the bottom of the page in a roundel, Jesus emerges from his sarcophagus as the Man of Sorrows, who serenely displays his wounds to the devout for contemplation. The juxtaposition of the two images suggests Christ's ultimate victory over death through his Resurrection.