Friday, April 02, 2010

... And Carried Him Away, and Delivered Him to Pilate

One of the many pleasures of our recent holiday in London was the chance to take a look at a few of the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Our friend David had suggested that they were not to be missed - and as always with David he was on the letter.

We saw perhaps a third of the wonders that are in the vast collection. Of course many of the objects were of a religious nature and many addressed the events being commemorated in the Western Christian faith this week.

I was particularly struck by these three small panels (roughly 46x74x12 cms)that were created in 1579-80 by Giambologna, an artist known for his marble and bronze sculptures. The panels, in red wax on a wooden background, are models for a series of six bronze reliefs on the Passion that were done for the Grimaldi Chapel in San Francesco di Castelletto, Genoa. When the church was demolished in 1815 the bronzes created from the models were moved to the University of Genoa and can be seen there today.

And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate, the governor.
Gospel of Matthew


Then came Jesus forth, wearing a crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the Man!
The Gospel of St. John


... he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person ....
Gospel of St Matthew

The medium used to create the models was beeswax with animal fat added, making the mixture easier to model and adhere. Over time some of the fat has separated and come to the surface which gives the models a slightly shiny appearance.

It appears that only these three models survived as no mention of the other three can be found in any catalogs.

02 aprile - Venerdi Santo

4 comments:

David said...

I never cease to wonder at what I keep on finding in the V&A. Have been back to the Renaissance and Medieval galleries five times, discovered upstairs too; and on the last visit I stumbled across some rooms upstairs I'd never seen, including silver iconostasis gates from Kiev which I'm popping along to photograph for an easter entry shortly.

Lucky us, to have this free resource ten minutes' bike ride from home. Mind you, you have a treasure or two on your doorstep in the Eternal City (bitchslap).

Happy Easter!

sageweb said...

wow very nice..

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

the detail is unbelievable.

Sling said...

It's amazing that such delicate treasures have lasted so long!