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The Crucifixion
Tristán, Luis
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Tristán, Luis

Toledo?, 1580 - Toledo (Spain), 1624

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The Crucifixion

Ca. 1613. Oil on canvas.
Room 009B

This depiction of Christ, lifeless on the cross and flanked by the Virgin Mary and Saint John, is considered one of the finest of many images of Calvary painted by this artist from Toledo. It is also a significant example of his painting, which owes much to the compositions and figurative models of his fundamental teacher in Toledo: El Greco. Finally, it reflects the Carravaggesque chiaroscuros shaped by Tristán’s second and definitive period of training in Rome, between approximately 1606 and 1612. After returning to Toledo, he painted mostly religious scenes based on many of El Greco’s compositions and models, as can be seen in this Calvary, whose elongated figures, expressive hands and small heads stand out against a somber background in which Tristán follows El Greco’s tendency to include urban elements of Toledo, such as the city walls and the Bisagra Gate. On the other hand, the compact modulation of the brushstrokes and the contrasted lighting reflect his Roman training. The representation of the cross as two rough-hewn beams with a wide cartouche in Hebrew, Greek and Latin is characteristic of this artist’s work. Dating is always problematical with Tristan, but this work has been linked to a commission from the monastery at Sisla (Toledo), where, in November 1613, he was contracted to make a Dead Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John. The subject, quality and dimensions of this Calvary make it a fundamental piece for the Museo del Prado’s collection. While there are half-a-dozen works by Tristán in its collection, and all of them are important, not one includes what was one of the most singular contributions to painting in Toledo from that period, much less of such notable quality and dimensions.

Technical data

Inventory number
Tristán, Luis
The Crucifixion
Ca. 1613
Height: 231 cm; Width: 158 cm
Bequest of Plácido Arango Arias, 2015.

Bibliography +

Pérez Sánchez, A. E.; Navarrete Prieto, B., Luis Tristán, h. 1585-1624, Ediciones del Umbral, Madrid, 2001, pp. 126, 217, n. 55.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E.; Navarrete Prieto, B., De Herrera a Velázquez: el primer naturalismo en Sevilla, Fundación Focus-Abengoa; Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, Sevilla; Bilbao, 2005, pp. n. 48.

Navarrete Prieto, B. en: Vallaure, M. (ed.), Una mirada singular. Pintura española de los siglos XVI al XIX, Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Oviedo, 2006, pp. 16-19, n. 4.

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. 30-31.

Ruiz, L, 'Luis Tristán. El Calvario' En:, Donación de Plácido Arango Arias al Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2016, pp. 30-31 n.6.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Memoria de actividades 2015, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2016, pp. 40-41.

Other inventories +

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

Exhibitions +

Temporal presentation: The Plácido Arango donation
07.07.2015 - 22.11.2015

Location +

Room 009B (On Display)

Update date: 05-11-2021 | Registry created on 24-08-2015

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