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The Crucifixion
Morales, Luis de
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Morales, Luis de

Badajoz (Spain), 1510 - Alcántara? (Spain), 1586

See author's file

The Crucifixion

Ca. 1566. Oil on panel.
Room 052C

The dimensions, format, theme, support and pictorial style of these three works -The Crucifixion (P8211), Lamentation over the Dead Christ (Museo de Salamanca, CE 106) and The Resurrection (P8212)- all point towards a common provenance, an altarpiece with traditional subject matter linked to the Christological cycle, with special emphasis on the episodes related to the Passion, the death of Christ and the Resurrection. This was the type of iconography most often repeated on the altarpieces of the period, and it is very likely that some of these subjects were included on the retables produced by Morales from the mid-1530s onwards.

The pictorial style of these three works is meanwhile agreed by specialists on the painter to fit coherently with Morales’s best production of the 1560s, or at least that related to paintings destined for altarpieces, a type of work in which workshop participation was frequent. The compositional and pictorial refinement displayed by these works in comparison with the Arroyo de la Luz altarpiece lends credence to Carmelo Solís’s proposal in 1999 that they should be related with the main altarpiece of the parish church of Alconchel (Badajoz), a town where Morales had already worked in the 1540s, probably for the convent of Nuestra Señora de la Luz.

The panel with the Crucifixion must have been painted as the culminating point of the altar piece. The subject of the crucified Christ flanked by the Mater Dolorosa and St John was recurrent both in polychrome wood sculpture and in painting. In the Arroyo de la Luz altarpiece, Alonso Hipólito, a carver from Plasencia, took charge of sculpting the three figures, which were displayed in a niche at the pinnacle of the altarpiece, while the painting was done by Morales and his workshop. In the Colección Arango panel, the rotundity of the figures, the awkward foreshortenings of the heads of Christ and St John, and the ample skies and contrastingly narrow landscapes all reinforce a composition designed to be seen sotto in su.

As usual in Morales’s modus operandi, the three figures maintain the painter’s characteristic models, especially frequent in the 1550s and 1560s. The figure of Christ shows careful anatomical drawing, with special precision in the rich tones used to sculpt the leg muscles. Infrared reflectography shows a very laborious underdrawing with considerable adjustments through out the anatomy, and an especially elaborate construction of the torso, very different from those that appear in The Resurrection or The Lamentation. The head, on the other hand, is duller in rendering, probably because it was a fragment painted over an original design with the head hanging on the right shoulder. In rectifying, he repeated the foreshortening of the Lamentation from the former Viuda de Trespalacios collection and the Polán Pietà, heightening the pathos of the half-open eyes and mouth, the bluish lips and the bloodless face, reflections of the very instant of death. The bust of the Virgin repeats the model of the Mater Dolorosa with interlocking hands, while the raised head of St John in rigorous file is retrieved from the one appearing in Pentecost at Arroyo de la Luz, though here rendered with a more elaborate and subtle pictorial treatment thanks to greater direct intervention by the master, although Tormo thought there must have been workshop collaboration here too. The different ways in which the Evangelist’s hair is resolved are sufficiently expressive of the variations in this figure between one panel and the other. The same might be said of the clothes, their limpid colours and the elegant cadences of the drapery on the three figures (Text drawn from Ruiz, L.: The Divine Morales, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2015, pp. 153-159).


Technical data

Inventory number
Morales, Luis de
The Crucifixion
Ca. 1566
Height: 165.2 cm; Width: 138 cm
Collection of Gaspar de Remisa Miarons, first Marquis of Remisa, 1846; Collection of Bonaventura Grases i Hernández, Barcelona, from at least 1917; later owned by the Salvans Piera family; Collection of Plácido Arango Arias, since 1990; donated to the Museo del Prado by Plácido Arango Arias, 2015.

Bibliography +

Berjano Escobar, Daniel, El pintor Luis de Morales (El Divino), Mateu, Madrid, 1917, pp. 91.

Goldschmidt, W., El problema del arte de Luis de Morales, Revista Española de Arte, IV, 1935, pp. 274-80.

Gaya Nuño, Juan Antonio, Luis de Morales, C.S.I.C.Inst.Diego Velazquez, Madrid, 1961, pp. 25, núms. 32-34.

Backsbacka, Ingjald, Luis de Morales, Helsingfords, Helsinki, 1962, pp. 118-19, núms. 62-64.

Gómez-Moreno, Manuel, Catálogo monumental de España: provincia de Salamanca, I, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, 1967, pp. 306.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E. (1935-2010), El retablo de Morales en Arroyo de la Luz, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Dirección General, Madrid, 1974, pp. 36, 40.

Solís Rodríguez, Carmelo, Escultura y pintura del siglo XVI. En: Historia de la Baja Extremadura, II, Real Academia de Extremadura de las Letras y las Artes, Badajoz, 1986, pp. 631-2.

Moreno Alcalde, M., El Museo de Salamanca: la colección de Bellas Artes, Revista de Información Cultural de la Asociación de Amigos del Museo de Salamanca, 4, 1999, pp. 7-25.

Solís Rodriguez, Carmelo, Luis de Morales, Fundacion Caja de Badajoz, Badajoz, 1999, pp. 168-71, 244-45, núms. 8, 9, 44.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, 'Luis de Morales. El Calvario' En:, El Divino Morales, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 153-159 n.37.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Plácido Arango Arias. Donación de 25 obras maestras de su colección de arte antiguo al Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 26-27.

Ruiz, L, 'Luis de Morales. El Calvario' En:, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2016, pp. 26-29 n.4.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Memoria de actividades 2015, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2016, pp. 34-36.

Jover de Celis, M. Alba, L. Gayo, M. García-Máiquez, J, 'En el taller de Luis de Morales' En:, Luis de Morales, Diputación de Badajoz,, 2018, pp. 97-113 [106, 108 f.24].

Ruiz, L, 'Luis de Morales , el pintor de lo Divino' En:, Diputación de Badajoz,, 2018, pp. 73-95 [87].

Martínez Plaza, Pedro J., Inventario de la Colección de Gaspar Remisa I Miarons, I Marqués de Remisa, en 1846. Transcripción y edición, En: Gaspar Remisa i Miarons [primer marquès de Remisa], Barcelona, 2021, pp. 27.

Tormo y Monzó, Elías 1869-1957, El Divino Morales, Thomas, Barcelona.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2906.

Exhibitions +

El Divino Morales
16.06.2016 - 25.09.2016

El Divino Morales
09.02.2016 - 16.05.2016

El Divino Morales
06.10.2015 - 10.01.2016

Location +

Room 052C (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Update date: 04-10-2022 | Registry created on 24-08-2015

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