Christ On The Cross
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The original function of this tiny painting, executed with the refinement of an illumination, is unclear. The jewel-like image shows the figure of the crucified Christ alone, heightening the beholder’s empathy and engagement with his suffering. This delicate painting may have been made during the final period of the artist’s life, which Simone spent in the papal court at Avignon in France. His sophisticated circle of friends and patrons there, including the poet Petrarch and high-ranking members of the curia, would certainly have responded to its refined elegance.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Simone Martini, Italian (c. 1284 - 1344)
Christ on the Cross
Work Type
c. 1340
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Tuscany, Siena
Level 2, Room 2500, European Art, 13th–16th century, Art and Image in Europe
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Physical Descriptions
Tempera and gold on panel
25 x 13.6 cm (9 13/16 x 5 3/8 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Hervey E. Wetzel Bequest Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
Publication History

Edward Waldo Forbes, Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1971), p. 4

Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), no. 159, p. 141, repr.

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 129, 282, repr. b/w cat. no. 484

Marco Pierini, Simone Martini, Cinisello Balsamo (Milan, Italy, 2000), pp. 220-221, repr. in color

Hayden B.J. Maginnis, The World of the Early Sienese Painter, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA, 2001), p. 109; repr. as fig. 68

Chikashi Kitazaki, ed., Between Reality and Dreams: Nineteenth Century British and French Art from the Winthrop Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art (Ueno, Japan, 2002), p. 14, repr. as fig. 3

Kathryn Brush, Vastly More than Brick and Mortar: Reinventing the Fogg Art Museum in the 1920s, Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge MA / New Haven, CT, 2003), p. 35, repr. in b/w as fig. 14

Pierluigi Leone de Castris, Simone Martini, Federico Motta Editore (Milan, Italy, 2003), pp. 250-251, repr. with detail; note p. 364

Carl Brandon Strehlke, Italian Paintings 1250-1450 in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA, 2004), p. 340; repr. p. 341 as fig. 61.2

Everett Fahy, "Italian Painting Before 1500", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 377-388, p. 382-383, repr. p. 382 as pl.1

Exhibition History

Re-View: S422-423 Western Art of the Middle Ages & Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 2500 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted