BAMBERG (?) PAINTER
The Crucifixion (300 x 220 mm.)
Germany, Bamberg (?), c. 1440-1450
This impressive full-page picture, blank on the verso, must have prefaced the Canon of the Mass in a Missal. It was commissioned either by a bishop or perhaps an abbot, who is featured on the left, holding a crozier and kneeling in prayer partly outside the picture frame. On the barren ground appear the cross and skull bones, references to the sin of Adam. The style of the painting reveals the impact of Bohemian art on southeastern Germany in the first half of the fifteenth century. Features of the Weiche Stil that characterize this illumination include the sfumato modeling of the face of Christ, the transparent drapery of his loincloth, and the sweetness of Mary's expression. A palette of rose-pink, light green, and blue also derives from Bohemian art earlier in the century.