Cristo Vivo, France, 17th century
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Cristo Vivo

Ivory
France, 17th century

Dimensions

Height
58 cm; 1 ft. 10⅘ in.
Width
34.5 cm; 1 ft. 1⅔ in.

Cross

Height
96.5 cm; 3 ft. 2 in.
Width
49.5 cm; 1 ft. 7½ in.

Provenance

Private collection, France, for more than 80 years

His torso unmarked by the spear of Longinus, Cristo Vivo (‘The Living Christ on the Cross’) hangs, arms outstretched and slightly bent, sacrificing himself on the cross to redeem mankind.

This exquisite and evocative Corpus Christi is notable for its exceptionally finely carved detail. The craftsmanship evident in the smallest curls of Christ’s locks, his beard, the crown of thorns, his open mouth displaying teeth and tongue, the whites of his rolled eyes and furrowed brow, the veins and sinews of his neck, arms, feet and lower abdomen, the musculature of his arms and legs, the knuckles and joints of the fingers and toes, the fingernails and toenails and the flowing folds of his perizonium (loin cloth) and twisted single rope tie is reflective of the highest skill and quality. The feet rest on the suppedaneum, each foot pierced by a nail, the skin around the wounds gathered, droplets of blood seeping as they do also from his hands and forehead punctured by thorns.

His head bowed and near death, Christ is resigned to his fate, submissive to the price of his sacrifice. Beautifully proportioned with a rich yellowed aged patina, this refined devotional work conveys the agony and exhaustion of the crucifixion yet still leaves the viewer with a sense of serenity. Of large size and superb quality, the sculpture is in near perfect condition.