Crucifixion with St Mary Magdalene

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Crucifixion with St Mary Magdalene
ArtistLuca Signorelli
Yearc. 1502-1505
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions247 cm × 165 cm (97 in × 65 in)
LocationFlorence, Uffizi Galleries

Crucifixion with St Mary Magdalene is a c. 1502–1505 tempera on canvas painting by Luca Signorelli, now in the Uffizi in Florence. It is usually held to be a late autograph work.[1]


Crucifixion with St Mary Magdalene was first inventeroried in the catalogue of Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia, where all the works of art seized from the city's suppressed monasteries and convents were brought in the late 18th and early 19th century. Cavalcaselle and the catalogue by Masselli initially attributed it to Andrea del Castagno, until in 1879 Vischer argued it was an autograph work by Signorelli. In 1889, Cruttwell attributed it to a studio assistant of Signorelli—Adolfo Venturi agreed with Cruttwell, but art historians Bernard Berenson, Mario Salmi, and Moriondo agreed with Vischer.

A 1953 restoration found a drawing of Saint Jerome on the back of the work, identified using traditional iconography—the drawing had been covered by a second layer of canvas support.[2]

Description and style[edit]

On a background of a scenic, almost visionary, landscape, with rocky spurs and a sea with cresting waves, the Crucifixion of Jesus is silhouetted, dark, and monumental. Christ is displayed in a rigidly frontal position, with the signs of the Passion clearly visible (e.g., the dripping blood). At his feet, Mary Magdalene kneels with her arms outstretched in a gesture of desperation, even if her face appears calm. At the cross's base, a skull with a serpent serves as a memento mori.

In the background, at different distances (not always connected well), there are related scenes: the repentance of Peter, the deposition from the Cross with a pyramidal composition, and the transportaton of the body of Christ. At left, there is a city full of classical monuments and ruins, including the Castel Sant'Angelo on the edge of a cliff.

The small flowers in the foreground pay tribute to Flemish art and Leonardo da Vinci's scientific naturalism.


  1. ^ (in Italian) Antonio Paolucci, 'Luca Signorelli', in Pittori del Rinascimento, Scala, Firenze 2004 ISBN 888117099X
  2. ^ "Catalogue entry" (in Italian).