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Core Record

Title The Dead Christ with Angels
Alternative Title Christ Rising from the Tomb
Collection Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Artist Attributed to Italian (Brescian) School
Previously attributed to Italian (Northern Italian) School
Date Earliest probably about 1500
Date Latest probably about 1550
Description A modestly executed depiction of the dead Christ, supported by two angels, on a tomb. The angels hold ceremonial candles. The shape and subject of the panel indicate it was probably a part of an altarpiece, perhaps the central panel of a predella.
Current Accession Number TRURI:1924.57
Subject religion (Christ)
Measurements 46 x 51.5 cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Given by Alfred A. de Pass 1924.
Publications Penrose, G., Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Miniatures in the Alfred A. de Pass Collection, Truro, 1936, cat. no. 33, p. 9, as Christ Rising from the Tomb, unknown artist of the north Italian school, fifteenth century; Wright, C., Old Master Paintings in Britain: An Index of Continental Paintings Executed Before c. 1800 in Public Collections in the United Kingdom, London, 1976, p. 98, as Italian school (north), fifteenth century.

A note in the museum records ‘Mr Edward Hutton (Mr de Pass's friend) says this is north Italian school, Bonnacchi - early 15th century'. The work is unlikely to represent the resurrected Christ as in its previous title. The iconography of this work should be associated with the commonly depicted pietŕ or Man of Sorrows, which more frequently shows Christ's dead body half-length emerging (but not in the process of resurrection) from the tomb supported or flanked by angels. The iconography is comparable to the National Gallery's The Dead Christ with Angels by Zaganelli (NG 3892.2), which formed the lunette to an altarpiece, ex-S Domenico, Faenza. This iconography was often employed as a minor panel in a polyptych, often at its top in the form of a lunette. The rectangular form and size of the Truro panel suggests it is more likely to have been situated at the centre of a predella.

Alfred A. de Pass (1861-1953) was born in South Africa, where his father and grandfather had established a business empire which included interests in shipping, guano, copper mining and sugar farming. After retiring from the family firm at age 36, Alfred pursued his interest in art collecting. For a period he lived in Cornwall, where he took an active interest in the Truro museum, then called the Royal Institution of Cornwall. In 1917 he was elected Associate of the Institution and in 1920 became its Vice-President. His gifts to the museum between 1914 and 1947 included many works of Western European fine and decorative art, including an important collection of old master drawings, as well as Oriental paintings, ceramics, metal work and textiles. For a list of Mr de Pass' donations of Western European paintings and drawings to the Truro museum up to 1936 see G. Penrose (cited below). He also donated to a number of other museums, including the National Gallery, the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, the Fitzwilliam, and the South African National Gallery.

Biographies and discussion of Mr de Pass' interests and donations may be found in: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The De Pass Collection: Paintings, Furniture, Ceramics etc., Illustrated Catalogue, Bristol, 1936; Popham, A.E., An Exhibition of Drawing from the Alfred A. de Pass Collection belonging to the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro, London, 1957; Walker, R., The De Pass Family, unpublished dissertation, Bristol Polytechnic, 1979; Price, B.D., Biographical Notes on Alfred Aaron De Pass (1861-1952) Art Benefactor Extraordinary, Falmouth, 1982; Nail, N., ‘The Cornish curator and the cosmopolitan collector: a note on George Penrose, 1876-1951, and Alfred de Pass, 1861-1953', Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, 1993, New Series II, I, 3, pp. 277-89; Berriman, H., ‘Introduction' in M. Joannides, Exhibition Catalogue of Master Drawing from the De Pass Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, London, 1994, pp. 7-11; Tietze, A., The Alfred de Pass Presentation to the South African National Gallery, exhibition catalogue, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, 1995; Irvine, G., and T. Daniel, Japanese Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Cornwall, 2001.

Rights Owner Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Author Dr Susan Steer



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