Gero Crucifix

Gero Crucifix

Date ca. 970

Movement Early Medieval | Ottonian

Medium Painted and gilded wood

Height 6’2″

Housed at Cologne cathedral, Germany


As evidenced by Bernward’s doors, a revival in large scale works was on the rise in the Ottonian period. This Crucifix marks the first representation of a dead Christ on the Cross in the West. Certainly the artist would have drawn inspiration from similar Byzantine works, but they have added physical elements to accentuate Christ’s pain—his torso is distended and sags from the very weight of his body, and deep incisions mark the anguish in his face.