Collection Highlight: Crucifixion with Saints

fresco of crucifixion

After restoration. Polidoro di Bartolomeo, Italian, Crucifixion with Saints (Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, St. John the Apostle, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Anthony of Padua), circa 1480, Fresco transferred to canvas, Partial gift of Garner D. Irvine, with additional funds from LaReta Creer Kump

A beloved fresco in the UMFA’s collection was recently restored – everybody deserves a facelift at 400+ years right? The restoration of Bartolomeo’s Crucifixion with Saints took place during the fall of 2011 and involved stabilizing the backing of the fresco and carefully cleaning the dirt and grime from its surface. The restorer then matched the pigments and painted in areas where the paint had flaked off over the years. The cleaning of the fresco also revealed some original areas that had been painted over in the ensuing centuries, specifically a portion of a pelican sitting on a nest at the top of the crucifix. The pelican is often a symbol of charity and Christ’s sacrifice in Christianity, and is usually shown sitting on a nest of new hatchlings, piercing her own breast with her beak to feed her young with her blood. While the top of the pelican is missing, in the newly restored fresco you can see the nest, the baby birds, and blood dripping down the mama pelican’s torso.

fresco of crucifixion before restoration

Before restoration

These before and after photos are lovely, but nothing can replace seeing this beauty in person. Come visit today!

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