Wearing the crown of thorns, his long arms forming diagonals, and an elongated torso suggesting the full weight of his body pulling downwards, Jesus hangs on the cross. The muscular body reveals Jesus' inherent beauty, while his closed eyes suggest that the breath of life has already passed from him. The unknown artist carved this small-scale hardwood corpus naturalistically, subtly modeling the well-developed body, defining the veins in the neck, and even revealing the form of Jesus' buttocks through the loincloth.

This kind of representation of the dead Jesus was very common in Counter-Reformation Italy, where emphasis on Jesus' humanity, and hence his mortality, was balanced by concern for his nobility as savior and king. The expressive handling of proportions in the elongated arms and torso and the sharp angles formed by the arms and projecting knees are characteristic exaggerations of the Mannerist style.


  • Title: Corpus (Pre-conservation)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: about 1600
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 32.5 × 33 cm (12 13/16 × 13 in.)
  • Type: Sculpture
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Wood
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 97.SD.45
  • Culture: Italian
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Lynda and Stewart Resnick in honor of Peter Fusco
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown maker, Italian
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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