Descent from the Cross

Artist: Girolamo da Cremona (Italian, active 1451–83)

Medium: Tempera on parchment, laid down on wood

Dimensions: 6 1/4 x 4 1/2 in. (15.9 x 11.4 cm)

Classification: Manuscripts and Illuminations

Credit Line: The Jules Bache Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.7.8


Girolamo da Cremona was among the most accomplished miniaturists of the fifteenth century. Regarded by contemporaries as one of the best illuminators of his generation, he was, from the start of his career, engaged in the decoration of some of the most splendid manuscripts produced at the Este court in Ferrara and the Gonzaga court in Mantua. He also received major commissions for both secular and liturgical manuscripts in Padua, Siena, Florence, and Venice.

This miniature, now affixed to a panel, may have been excised from a missal decorated by Girolamo around 1475–76, for Lucrezia Tornabuoni, the widow of Piero di Cosimo de' Medici. The spatial clarity, naturalistic treatment of the figures and landscape, and meticulous attention to detail that characterize the composition reflect Girolamo's ability to adapt to a small scale the monumental, classically inspired, Renaissance vocabulary of Andrea Mantegna.