Crucifix of Ferdinand and Sancha

Crucifijo de Don Fernando y Doña Sancha Pulse para ampliar Crucifijo de Don Fernando y Doña Sancha. Sala 27, vitrina 27.3

Beginnings of Romanesque sculpture

This ivory crucifix is the first sculpted depiction of the Crucified Christ to appear in the Christian kingdoms, and its exquisite craftsmanship makes it one of the most important examples of Romanesque art. It is also an exceptional reliquary of the True Cross, with a container for the lignum crucis on Christ’s back, which could be carried in procession or displayed by inserting the tab at the bottom into a base. The iconographic programme focuses on the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and on his role as the redeemer of mankind, represented by the figure of Adam at his feet. The hieratic, rigid, frontal pose of Christ’s figure underscores his divine nature, as do the open eyes which show no sign of suffering. At the top of the cross we also see an image of the triumphant resurrected Christ, and there is a reference to the Day of Judgment in the depiction of the dead emerging from their graves, with the saints rising and the damned falling. At the bottom of the obverse side it is possible to read the names FERDINANDUS and SANCIA, the monarchs of Leon who donated this cross in 1063 to the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro de León, where the king’s funeral was held.