An impressive mid-18th century Crucifix by Johann Joseph Christian

Image of An impressive mid-18th century Crucifix by Johann Joseph Christian

A large and impressive Baroque crucifix with original polychromy, cross and titulus.

Approximate size: 76 x 53 cm (corpus)

Johann Joseph Christian
Riedlingen, Germany; ca. 1730-40
Polychrome wood; approximate size: 76 x 53 cm (corpus)

The emotive character of this corpus, coupled with its sweeping perizonium, reflects the late Baroque, Rococo drama inherent in the religious sculpture of the period. It's large scale suggests it was used for the main altar of a private chapel or local Parrish church. The detail given to Christ's anatomy is remarkable while the sense of movement suggested by the subtle twist of his torso and corresponding drapery, gives the impression of vigor in the midst of sacrifice.

A direct comparison of our Christ can be made with a group of four corpora attributed to Johann Joseph Christian and his workshop, preserved at the heute Museum St├Ądtische Galerie of Riedlingen in the former Heilig-Geist-Spital. In particular, an unpainted workshop model of a corpus (Inv. 2006/0142) is an exact comparion with our sculpture and may suggest a possible carving by Christian rather than an assistant. Another corpus by Christian for the Pfarrkirche St. Leonhard in Daugendorf is confidently related to our sculpture in addition to a statuette of Christ seated, located in the same church, and thought also to be Christian's work.

A quantity of corpora in regional churches link their corpora to Christian although few are faithfully congruent with the early important works ascribed to him and are probably the production of later followers or workshop assistants.

The distinct face of our corpus compares with Christian's figure of St. Sebastian at the Kirche St. Peter und Paul in Offingen, made in 1755 or his stone figure of 1734, depicting St. Nicholas for the exterior of the chapel dedicated to this saint at Schloss Mochental, while the physiognomic character of our corpus is figured in his St. Sebastian for the Pfarrkirche St. Georg in Ertingen in 1738. Based on these observations our corpus probably dates to an earlier period in the sculptor's career, between 1730-40.

Johann Christian's celebrated masterpieces are the stucco reliefs and choir stalls he executed for Zwiefalten Abbey and Ottobeurn Abbey during the 1750s, considered accomplishments that encapsulate the zenith of German Baroque-Rococo mastery.

Condition: Commensurate with age. Some repairs throughout, particularly a reattachment of the perizonium. Chips and losses to polychromy. Original polychrome intact although the blood may be a later addition.