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Founder Jane Fortune in Pitti storeroom admiring Oosterwych’s work

The Crucifixion – Top-five Facts

What do you need to know about Nelli's Crucifixion? This overview tells why this painting must be rescued.

  • Plautilla Nellli was the first recognized woman painter of Florence and this work is the earliest large-scale painting of The Crucifixion by a female artist. Nelli is one of the few female artists of her time who tackled large-scale painting of religious subjects.

  • Created in the 1570s, it is a rare example of women commissioning art to other women. Suor Arcangela Viola, prioress of Santa Caterina da Siena, commissioned the lunette in response to her own spiritual visions.

  • Very few paintings by women in Nelli's time depicted the nude or semi-nude male body, as they were banned from anatomical training. She inherited drawings by Fra Bartolomeo and was an avid art collector who owned multiple works from which she studied, including a sketch of Michelangelo's Risen Christ.

  • In dire need of restoration, this painting has been unknown to the public for centuries. After the closing of the Certosa Monastery, it will now return to the museum spotlight, in an environment similar to its original home.

  • Nelli's contemporaries believed her works were imbued with spirituality. The Crucifixion is one such example. Many noble families wanted the paintings of 'a pious woman' in their private chapels, which is one of the reasons she was so popular.