Curator‘s Comments

During the Middle Ages, indoor and outdoor processions were a common ritual before special services or celebrations. This double-sided cross was probably attached to the top of a staff. The cross is attributed to an artist called the Master of the Blue Crucifixes, known for the painted crosses he made for the Basilica of San Francis in Assisi. To make the cross, the artist first covered a wooden frame with linen and gesso, a type of plaster. A reddish clay, called bol, was then applied as an adhesive for thin sheets of gold leaf. Each delicate figure of Christ was painted with tempera, an egg-based paint that requires a high level of skill to use because it dries so quickly.

Master of the Blue Crucifixes. Italian, Active 1265-1275

Processional Cross, c. 1265-1275

Tempera and gold gilt on gesso over linen and wood

Purchased with the Winthrop Hillyer Fund

ID Number: SC 1924:18-1