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The Crucified Christ with the Virgin and St John: MAR.M.252-1912

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Crucified Christ with the Virgin and St John


Maker: Reymond, Pierre (Workshop of)




Copper, enamelled and gilt.

Rectangular slightly convex copper plaque with arched top, enamelled in pale greyish-blue, pale bluish-green, pale mulberry, flesh pink, pale straw-yellow, red, black, and white enamels, and gilded. The outlines are in black. The reverse has clear counter-enamel.
Christ hangs on a gold Cross with ‘INRI’ written in gold on a white panel over it. He wears a green crown of thorns and a white drape which is being blown out on either side by the wind. Blood pours from the wounds in his head, hands, feet, and side. At the base of the cross there is a white skull with black eye sockets. On the left the Virgin stands with her hands together in prayer, looking away from the Cross. She wears a white wimple, and a pale blue mantle over a mulberry dress. St John stands on the right holding a bluish-green book with both hands, and looking towards the Virgin. He has pale straw-coloured hair, and wears a white mantle over a mulberry gown. The ground is bluish-green. The black background has a gold sun on the left of the Cross and a moon on the right, and below its arms is semé with shooting stars (tadpole-like shapes). A narrow gold band runs round the curved edge, and within it is a line broken at intervals by four oblique strokes.


History note: Uncertain before the testator, Charles Brinsley Marlay (1831-1912)

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 7.8 cm
Width: 6.1 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


16th Century, Mid
Circa 1545 CE - 1560 CE


Images of Christ on the Cross witnessed by the Virgin and St John were placed on church rood screens (jubés), where they reminded the congregation of Christ’s redemption of the world through his sacrifice. They also commemorated the poignant moment when the dying Christ commended his mother to the care of the unnamed disciple whom he loved, usually identified as the young St John, the only disciple recorded as a witness to the Crucifixion (John, 19 25-27). The initials INRI on a label at the top of the cross are an abbreviation of Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, the Latin version of a title, made also in Hebrew and Greek, which according to the Gospel was written by Pilate to be placed on the Cross (John 19, 19-20). Small enamelled plaques of this arched form were made for insertion into paxes which were kissed by the congregation during Mass, or were mounted as devotional images. The workshop of Pierre Reymond produced many of these small plaques with different subjects including the the Nativity (Fitzwilliam, M.41-1904), Virgin and Child Enthroned (Fitzwilliam, MAR.M.251-1912). the Pietà, St Jerome kneeling in Penitence, St John the Baptist, and St Francis of Assisi. By the mid sixteenth-century there were many prints and book illustrations of the Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John, which could have served as a model for the enameller, and a specific source has not been identified. One possibility is a print by Martin Schongauer, although the figures are not identifical. (Bartsch, VI (Part 1), p. 129, no. 23; Illustrated Bartsch 8, formerly volume 6 (Part 1), Early German Artists, ed. Jane C. Hutchison, New York, 1980, p. 237, no. 23.) Apart from the presence of a skull below the Cross, the scene closely resembles a grisaille plaque attributed tentatively to Pierre Reymond, situated in a triptych above a set of enamelled plaques illustrating the Lord's Prayer by his contemporary, Colin Nouailher, in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Limoges (Inv. 2000.10.1).

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Back Of Plaque composed of enamel ( clear counter-enamel)
Decoration composed of enamel ( pale greyish-blue, pale bluish-green, pale mulberry, flesh pink, pale straw-yellow, red, black, and white) gold
Plaque composed of copper

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: INRI
  • Location: On label at top of Cross
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in gold
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.M.252-1912
Primary reference Number: 156447
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 1 March 2024 Last processed: Tuesday 5 March 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "The Crucified Christ with the Virgin and St John" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-19 06:37:02

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