Book Series Studies in the Visual Cultures of the Middle Ages, vol. 14

Christ on the Cross

The Boston Crucifix and the Rise of Monumental Wood Sculpture, 970-1200

Shirin Fozi, Gerhard Lutz (eds)

  • Pages: 456 p.
  • Size:225 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:295 b/w, 32 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2020

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57967-2
  • Hardback
  • Available

A comprehensive view of the first generation of monumental crucifixes to appear in medieval Europe, which balances examinations of the history, theology, styles, and material properties of these evocative objects.


« Dans l’ensemble, ce livre est très intéressant et révèle une vision générale nouvelle des dernières recherches américaines et allemandes sur les crucifixions du IXe au XIIe siècle. » (Myriam Serck-Dewaide, dans Revue belge d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de l’Art XC, 2021, p. 220)


Shirin Fozi (PhD Harvard University) is assistant professor of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. Gerhard Lutz (PhD Technische Universität, Berlin) is associate director and curator at the Dommuseum Hildesheim. The editors have invited essays from internationally recognized authors who are active on both sides of the Atlantic, taking special care to include the perspectives of conservators, curators, and other scholars of medieval art.


Few medieval images are as iconic, or as challenging, as the life-sized sculptural crucifixes that emerged in the Holy Roman Empire at the end of the tenth century. Striking at the fundamental mysteries of Christianity — the idea of a God made flesh, who died on the Cross and was resurrected after three days — these objects were made to attract attention and inspire veneration, and they exist in uneasy tension with medieval anxieties about idolatry and the cult of images. This volume presents new research on the Boston Crucifix, the earliest medieval crucifix in North America and one of the most significant examples of the genre, in dialogue with new directions in this field as a whole. Essays on the history, theology, style, condition, and provenance of early wood crucifixes are presented here together for the first time in a format that is intended as a major scholarly resource, but will also prove accessible to students and non-specialists who are curious about the origins of monumental crucifixes in the High Middle Ages.


Marietta Cambareri

Shirin Fozi and Gerhard Lutz

PART ONE: The Boston Crucifix at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Crucifix from the Fuld Collection in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: A Masterpiece of late Ottonian Sculpture
Gerhard Lutz
The Boston Corpus: Technical Examination at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Abigail Hykin and Richard Newman
The Boston Crucifix in the Context of Early Wood Sculpture: Technical Observations
Klaus Endemann
Harry Fuld, Georg Swarzenski, and the Modern History of a Medieval Crucifix
Shirin Fozi

PART TWO: The Technical Study of Early Wood Crucifixes

The Bavarian Context of the Boston Crucifix: Origins and Chronology
Manuela Beer
The Debate on Dating the Crucifixes at Schaftlach, Enghausen, and Schlehdorf
Matthias Weniger
Wood Carving Techniques in Early Monumental Sculpture
Klaus Endemann

PART THREE: Case Studies

The Gero Cross in Cologne Cathedral
Rolf Lauer
In Memory of Duke Otto of Swabia: The Crucifix of Aschaffenburg
Klaus Gereon Beuckers and Anna Pawlik
The Gerresheim Crucifix: New Conclusions on the Working Techniques of an Ottonian Sculpture
Marc Peez
The Crucifix Torso from St Georg in Cologne
Manuela Beer
A Tyrolean Crucifix at The Cloisters
Charles T. Little
The Cloisters’ Romanesque Crucifix from Northern Spain: A Reconstruction and Interpretation
Michele Marincola
The Lavaudieu Corpus at The Cloisters
Lucretia Kargère

PART FOUR: Audience and Experience

‘Not to nature, but to miracles’: The Attitude towards Images in Prudentius of Troyes’s Sermo de vita Maurae
William J. Diebold
The Cross and the Monumental Crucifix
Beatrice Kitzinger
The Crucifix from Ringelheim and Bernward of Hildesheim: Sculpture and Veneration in the Time around 1000
Gerhard Lutz
The Image of the Dead Christ on the Cross in the Ottonian Era: The Artistic and Theological Problems of Sculptural Crucifixes
Rainer Kahsnitz


The Strangeness of Crucifixes
Jacqueline E. Jung