The Crucifixion of Jesus

Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, is commonly known for housing the masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, ’The Last Supper.’

Known as ‘The Crucifixion,’ this remarkable fresco painting adorns the south wall of the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie

However, it also exhibits other notable art pieces, including the crucifixion painting by Giovanni Donato Montorfano.

The crucifixion of Christ is a central theme in Christian art, literature and religious practices. The crucifixion definition is that a person is bound or nailed to a cross and allowed to die. 

Traditionally, this kind of execution was used as a punishment or capital punishment.

Montorfano, an esteemed Lombard painter, showcased his talent in this piece, dated and signed proudly at the base of the cross.

Unlike Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in the same location, The Crucifixion has remained well-preserved over time. 

Explore the moving tales of The Last Supper and Santa Maria delle Grazie, where history and art collide, culminating in the powerful depiction of the crucifixion that endures throughout the ages.

The Remarkable Fresco by Giovanni Donato Montorfano

The arrangement, marked by balance and careful detail, shows Calvary with three crosses dividing the scene. 

Though the figures are clear, dressed in rigid, metallic textures and vivid colors, the arrangement seems disorderly. 

The backdrop features a city reminiscent of ancient Jerusalem, adding depth to the narrative. 

Although each group is isolated, lacking a sense of drama and fluidity, The Crucifixion is a testament to Montorfano’s mastery and a significant contribution to pictorial culture.

The Longevity of the Well-Preserved Fresco

Leonardo’s experimental use of oil and tempera caused his painting to deteriorate slowly. 

In contrast, Giovanni Donato’s traditional fresco has retained its vibrant colors even after more than 500 years.

Collaborators in Art

Montorfano’s fresco is opposite Leonardo da Vinci’s famous work, ‘The Last Supper,’ in Santa Maria delle Grazie’s dining hall.

After Montorfano finished his fresco, it’s thought that Leonardo added a few figures since Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, commissioned both artworks.

Notably, although their current state is poorly preserved, the portraits of Ludovico il Moro and his wife Beatrice d’Este stand out.

About Giovanni Donato 

Giovanni Donato da Montorfano, born around 1460 in Milan, was a renowned Italian Renaissance painter. 

Giovanni Donato came from a family of artists, including his painter grandfather Abramo and father Alberto da Montorfano, who worked at Milan Cathedral. He carried on the artistic tradition. 

Giovanni da Montorfano worked at the Milan Cathedral and in Genoa during the mid-15th century. 

His most famous piece is the Crucifixion fresco, signed and dated 1495, in the dining hall of Santa Maria delle Grazie convent in Milan.

In this impactful painting, he skillfully captures the emotional depth of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, inspiring wonder and contemplation.

His other attributed works include frescoes in San Pietro in Gessate and scenes from the Life of St. Catherine.

Giovanni Donato’s impact on Renaissance art is noteworthy, highlighting his talent as a painter of his era.

How and where to see The Crucifixion and The Last Supper?

The Crucifixion and The Last Supper can be seen in the Santa Maria delle Grazie refectory in Milan, Italy. 

However, due to the popularity of The Last Supper by Leonardo, you will have to book your tickets online, preferably months in advance.

Only a few visitors are allowed daily, so booking in advance is strongly advised to preserve the Last Supper painting.

Joining a guided church tour can enrich your visit, offering insights into the history and importance of these famous artworks.

The one-hour Last Supper tour with a live tour guide and audio headsets is the most popular among visitors. 

You can also visit other landmarks in the city with the Milan historical walking tour that includes the entrance to the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie.


What happened in the crucifixion of Jesus?

Being a significant event in Christian theology, Jesus was nailed to a wooden cross and left to die.

The crucifixion of Jesus represents his sacrifice for the redemption of humanity’s sins.

How old was Jesus died on the cross?

The exact age of Jesus at the time of his crucifixion is unknown, as the precise date of his death is a subject of scholarly discussion.

Various estimates suggest Jesus was crucified at the age of approximately 33 years.

Where is the story of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Bible?

You can find the story of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Bible in the following passages: Matthew 27:32-56, Mark 15:21-38, Luke 23:26-49, and John 19:16-37. 

It is a significant event in Christianity and is important in shaping religious beliefs and human history.

What was the reason Jesus died on the cross?

According to the Bible, Jesus died on the cross due to the Roman crucifixion method, where he was nailed to a cross on Calvary. 

His death served as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

Featured Image: En.wikipedia.org

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