About this artwork
This fine example of a small cross made for individual worship is also exceptional because it is signed by a woman artist, María Josefa Sánchez. Sánchez was active from 1639 to 1649, probably in Castile, but little else is known about her. Women rarely worked as professional artists in 17th-century Spain; those few who did usually trained in the workshops of their fathers. Some women artists of the period, Sánchez included, may have been nuns who produced devotional works for monastic communities.
Here the body of Jesus is gracefully posed in contrast to his agonized expression, with carefully depicted drops of blood spilling from his hands and feet. The glowing orbs near his hands represent the sun and the moon, a reference to the darkness of the eclipse at the moment of his death. Unusually for Crucifixion scenes, Sánchez included the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, identified by the celestial symbols that surround her, at Christ’s feet.
- María Josefa Sánchez
- Oil on panel
- 63 × 39 cm (24 13/16 × 15 3/8 in.)
- C. Harker and Mae Svoboda Rhodes Acquisition Fund