Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 73

A LO NSO CA NO / A new Dead Christ on the Cross
A LON SO CA N O / A new Dead Christ on the Cross
painted on a smooth wooden cross. Today this work
is held in the sacristy of the parish church of Nuestra
Señora de la Consolación in El Coronil (Seville)(fig. 5),
although it may have come from the former convent
of the Discalced Carmelites as its size (40.6 x 25.6 cm)
and characteristics correspond to images that nuns and
friars kept in their cells.27 The figure has his right foot
placed over the left, with three nails according to the
vision of Saint Bridget, which leads us to conclude that
this was produced before he had seen Dürer’s drawing,
in the first few months of 1611. Christ is shown about
to expire, as in Dürer’s drawing, looking towards the
viewer’s right with an intense, upward gaze and his head
level with his hands. The Saviour’s head is resplendent,
with rays of light emanating from it, and a loincloth
partially covers him, with a cord visible only on the
right. The titulus is inscribed in Hebrew, Greek and
Latin, as written by John, but it seems that there was
not yet a debate about this as it does not begin with HIC
EST.28 The stem of the Cross is quite long and very
bloody, and on the ground beneath Christ’s feet there is
an overturned skull.
Whilst is true that in the engraving Christ directs his
gaze towards the Virgin on the right, whereas in the
drawing he looks the other way, this is the result of the
inversion caused by the printing process. Pacheco does
not mention this detail, which does not appear to be of
importance to him.
Pacheco refers on four occasions to a trip that he made to
Cordoba, Toledo, Madrid, el Pardo and el Escorial.22 He
also states that this took place in 1611, though provides
no further details. Various authors have hypothesized that
this journey lasted from September 1610 until October
1611,23 with Bassegoda suggesting that it perhaps took
place “towards the spring-summer of that year.”24 The
master signed a document in Seville on 25 October
1611,25 which suggests Bassegoda is right: Pacheco would
have taken advantage of the months of good weather for
his visit to court with stops in the two large cities en route.
Fig. 5 / Francisco Pacheco,
Crucified Christ, oil on panel,
40.6 x 25.6 cm, El Coronil
(Seville), Parish church
of Nuestra Señora de la
It is important to determine as precisely as possible
the date of this trip, as it helps establish when Pacheco
might have seen Dürer’s drawing in el Escorial and, in
consequence, when he painted his Crucifixions. The first
known example is signed and dated 1611,26 with Christ
Pacheco’s knowledge of Dürer’s drawing would
transform the model of Christ employed in his
subsequent depictions of the subject: from then on
Christ was always shown as dead. The first known
example of this (following Pacheco’s return from his
sojourn at court) is now in the Fundación Rodríguez
Acosta in Granada (fig. 6), signed and dated 1614.29
Another panel of similar size (50 x 38 cm), featuring the
same signature and dated 1615, was published when it
was in the collection of Teresa López-Dóriga, although
its present whereabouts are unknown.30
A third example, undated and on canvas, survives in the
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires (fig. 7).
It is similar in size to the other panels and is dated 16141615. The canvas was acquired in Seville, on 23 June
1906, by the museum’s then director, Eduardo Schiaffino,
from José María López Cepero, great-grandnephew
of the dean and collector of the same name. The 1813
inventory of the López Cepero Collection lists “un Cristo
de Pacheco” (no. 153) and, in a catalogue of 1860 (no.
625), it was noted that it measured one foot and eleven
inches by one foot and four inches (53.3 x 37.2 cm). The
painting entered the museum in 1995.31
The innovation common to all three paintings is that
Christ’s feet appear to be nailed separately and rest on a
ledge attached to the Cross with a trapezoidal support,
Fig. 6 / Francisco Pacheco,
Crucified Christ, signed and
dated 1614, oil on panel,
58 x 37.5 cm, Granada,
Fundación Rodríguez Acosta.
Fig. 7 / Francisco Pacheco,
Crucified Christ, oil on
canvas, 56 x 41 cm, Buenos
Aires, Museo Nacional de
Bellas Artes.


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