Sunday, October 17, 2010

Object of the Day: An Early Nineteenth-Century French Crucifix

Many homes in France in the early Nineteenth Century had a space devoted to prayer. Very often, a small crucifix and other religious statues were used as devotional objects in the home. This wooden crucifix was created for domestic use.

Hand-turned, ebonized spindles form the body of the cross. The ends of the spindles have been capped with cut-porcelain beads. The figure of Christ is cast in silver. As is often the case with French religious artifacts, the figure is an elongated and idealized form—gaunt, but fluid in design. The turned base upon which the crucifix sits is adorned with a single inlaid-silver skull to represent Golgotha—the Mount of Skulls upon which Christ was crucified.

I tend to not want religious art in my home. I certainly appreciate it and made it my study for many years. However, because I worked in a theologically-themed career for so long, I always made a point of keeping my décor relatively free of religious imagery. I made an exception in this case. This remarkable crucifix is lovingly worn from over a century of use. Its artistry is exceptional, and, it does have an excellent message behind it.

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