Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Catalog - Page 90
Arezzo, ca. 1509 – Milan, 22 July 1590
Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, and Mary Magdalene
Bronze with a natural light brown patina
Christ: 35 cm (from head to toe); 32.5 cm (from hand to hand)
Virgin: 30 cm; Saint John: 30 cm; Mary Magdalene: 16.5 cm
Ebony wood cross on a pedestal of the same material.
Overall height of the scene: 110 cm.
Height of cross: 76 cm; wooden base: 33.5 cm.
Inscription on the base of the bronze figure of the Virgin:
“OPVS V B...”
Depictions of the Crucifixion including the figures of the Virgin,
Saint John and Mary Magdalene were extremely popular in the
Counter-Reformation period. Leone’s holy figures are idealized and
restrained in their grief. Particular attention is paid to the articulation
Rosario Coppel, Margarita Estella, and Kelley
and fall of the heavy, voluminous drapery, which dictates the flow
Helmstutler Di Dio, Leone and Pompeo Leoni: Faith and Fame
of the scene. Details of features, hair, hands, and feet are often
(Madrid: Coll & Cortés, 2013), pp. 56-113.
schematically rendered, with a greater concern for the overall visual
effect created by the figures’ postures, gazes, and gestures.
In 1563, Vasari executed an expressive treatment of the same
subject now in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in
Florence.1 In Venice, Leoni might have seen Giuseppe Salviati’s
treatment of the scene dating to the 1550s, now in San Giovanni e
Paolo. This work was reproduced by the artist in a woodcut
(fig. 10.1), which would have disseminated the design among
a broad audience; the gesture of Leoni’s youthful Saint John
resembles that of the figure in Salviati’s painting and woodcut.2
There are several sculptural examples of this figure group,
including one by Alessandro Vittoria that once decorated the high