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Core Record

Title The Dead Christ
Original Translation Christo Passo
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Cima da Conegliano, Giovanni Battista (Italian painter, ca. 1459-1517)
Attributed to after Bellini, Giovanni (Italian painter, born 1431-1436, died 1516)
Previously attributed to Basaiti, Marco (Italian painter, ca.1480-ca.1530)
Date Earliest about 1499
Date Latest about 1501
Description This small figure of the dead Christ seated on the tomb was probably the central pinnacle on the top level of a polyptych (many-panelled altarpiece). It has also been suggested, based on a physical examination of damage to the right hand edge, that it could have served as the door of a ciborium or tabernacle in which the Communion bread, symbolic of Christ's body, was stored. However, the foreshortened lower body suggests that the panel was meant to be viewed from below, making the polyptych the more likely solution. The figure of Christ may have been supported by two angels, subsequently painted over.

Cima worked on the mainland around Venice and was much influenced by the work of his great Venetian contemporary, Giovanni Bellini.

Current Accession Number 1930P16
Former Accession Number P.1630
Subject religion (Dead Christ on Tomb)
Measurements 26.9 x 16.7 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel (cypress?)
Acquisition Details Given by Public Picture Gallery Fund 1930.
Provenance Paul Delaroff, St Petersburg; Paul Delaroff sale, George Petit, Paris, 1914, lot 219 as Cima; Popoff, Paris, 1929; Agnew's.
Principal Exhibitions Agnew's, London, 1957, cat. no. 25; Primitives to Picasso, Royal Academy of Art, 1962, cat. no. 10; Old Masters from Birmingham, Wildenstein, London, 1970, cat. no. 5.
Publications Berenson, B., Venetian Pictures, 1957, vol. 1, p. 64, ill.; Coletti, L., Cima da Conegliano, 1959, p.82,, pl. 63a; Heinmann, F., Giovanni Bellini e i Belliniani, 1962, p. 53; Meneguzzi, L., Cima da Conegliano, 1981, p. 138, fig. 162; Humfrey, P., Cima da Conegliano, 1983, p. 8; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 29, ill.
Notes Also copied by Van Mieris, about 1680, Coletti has dated the original to around 1500. A similar painting of the Dead Christ supported by two angels and showing the same foreshortening of the legs was formerly in the Cook Collection, Richmond, sold at Sotheby's, 25 June 1958, lot 9, then 29 March 1968, lot 86, then 9 July 1982, lot 74, and now in a private collection in Ireland[;].
Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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