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The Crucifixion

Giovanni di Paolo
1420 - 1436

Giovanni di Paolo, a Sienese painter and illuminator, created much of his work for the religious communities in his native town.  In the 19th century many of his altarpieces were dismembered, their predellas being cut up into individual scenes, such as this Crucifixion, which would have formed the centre of a predella from a large altarpiece. 

The Crucifixion was one of Giovanni di Paolo’s key themes, and this particular painting appears to be one of his early works. The predominant use of gold is traditional for this period, the colour symbolises the deity of Christ and the sacredness of what is depicted.  

The painting was from the collection of Thomas Kay, a successful pharmacist born in Heywood (part of Rochdale borough). Kay gave his art collection to Heywood in 1912 and it became part of the borough’s collection with local government re-organisation in 1974.

This the earliest piece in Rochdale’s collection.