Ivory Crucified Christ

An ivory, partially polychromed Christ on a wooden cross with gilded silver finials. He is depicted deceased, with his head tilted to one side over his right shoulder and wearing a striking double loop crown of thorns. He wears a dynamic cloth of purity on which rests a small angel that collects his blood, a clear reference to the Eucharist.

It is thought to be a Spanish-Filipino work from the 18th century, although with certain reservations because of the high quality and correctness with which it has been executed. It is a finely proportioned Christ that at first glance is more in keeping with European aesthetics than with usual Eastern idealism. Nonetheless, its affiliation with the East is quite clear judging by certain technical aspects: the almost schematic hardness of several anatomical details, as well as the stiffness of the flowing drapery. To this must be added the carved lace with which the cloth of purity is finished and the polychrome work with which the Eastern ivories are complemented, all of which are alien to European aesthetics.


Ficha técnica

  • Author: Anonymous. Spanish-Philippines school
  • Date: 18th century
  • Technique: Christ: Carved and polychrome ivory. Cross: Veneered wood with silver trimmings
  • Measurements: Christ: 73 x 55 x 15 cm; Cross: 130 x 90 cm
  • Place: Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Vitoria-Gasteiz)

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AZCÁRATE RISTORI, José M.ª de. “Catedral de Santa María (catedral Vieja)”. En: PORTILLA VITORIA, Micaela J. et al. Catálogo Monumental Diócesis de Vitoria: Ciudad de Vitoria. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Obra Cultural de la Caja de Ahorros Municipal, tomo III, 1968, p. 106.

ESTELLA, Margarita, M. La escultura barroca de marfil en España. Escuelas europeas y coloniales. Vol. II, Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto Diego Velázquez, 1984, pp. 177.  

TABAR ANITUA, Fernando. Barroco importado en Álava y Diócesis de Vitoria-Gasteiz: Escultura y Pintura [cat.]. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Diputación Foral de Álava, 1995. pp. 216-219.