[Daily article] April 14: Crucifix (Cimabue, Santa Croce)

The Crucifix by Cimabue at Santa Croce is a large wooden crucifix
painted c. 1265, one of two attributed to the Florentine painter and
mosaicist Cimabue. Painted in distemper, it was commissioned by the
Franciscan friars of Santa Croce and is built from a complex arrangement
of timber boards. Displaying technical innovations and humanistic
iconography, it is one of the first Italian artworks to break from the
late medieval Byzantine style. The gilding and monumentality of the
cross link it to the Byzantine tradition. Christ’s static pose is
reflective of this style, while the work overall incorporates newer,
more naturalistic aspects. It presents a lifelike and physically
imposing depiction of the passion at Calvary. Christ is shown nearly
naked: his eyes are closed, his face lifeless and defeated. His body
slumps in a position contorted by prolonged agony and pain. The painting
is a graphic and unflinching portrayal of human suffering, and has
influenced painters from Michelangelo to Francis Bacon. It has been in
the Basilica di Santa Croce since the late 13th century, and at the
museum at Santa Croce since restoration following flooding of the Arno
in 1966.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1471:

Wars of the Roses: The Yorkists under Edward IV defeated the
Lancastrians near the town of Barnet, killing Richard Neville, Earl of
Warwick.

1865:

Actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth fatally
shot U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington,
D.C.

1944:

The freighter SS Fort Stikine, carrying a mixed cargo of cotton
bales, gold and ammunition, exploded in the harbour in Bombay, India,
sinking surrounding ships and killing about 800 people.

1967:

After leading a military coup three months earlier, Gnassingbé
Eyadéma installed himself as President of Togo, a post which he held
until 2005.

1999:

A storm dropped an estimated 500,000 tonnes of hailstones in
Sydney and along the east coast of New South Wales, causing about A$2.3
billion in damages, the costliest natural disaster in Australian
insurance history.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

daily bread:
1. All those things, such as regular food and water, needed to sustain
physical life.
2. (by extension, chiefly Christianity) All those things, such as regular
prayer, worship and meditation, needed to sustain spiritual life.

___________________________
Wikiquote quote of the day:

  You waste time, my friend, in trying to convince me of all human
life’s failure and unimportance, for I am not in sympathy with this
modern morbid pessimistic way of talking. It has a very ill sound, and
nothing whatever is to be gained by it.  
–James Branch Cabell

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