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Beaune, Musée des Beaux-Arts
 
The living cross
  Cretan School
16th century
Oil on wood
H 126 X W 97cm
Donation from the National Museum of the Middle Ages, in 1896
Restored in 2000
Beaune, Museum of Fine Arts


This very strange work is one of the most engaging in this museum. Beyond a simple crucifixion, it is also the affirmation of the advent of a new law with the death of Christ, which it is about. To the right, the symbol of the old law, is the synagogue in the form of an old, blindfolded woman with her left arm cut off. To the left, a young woman, the church, has been crowned. She is framed by the four Evangelists. Above Christ, an arm with a key provides access to the heavenly Jerusalem. In the lower part to the right are those in limbo and hell, whose limit is marked by a black devil chained to the cross. At the foot of the cross is a skeleton of Adam, and below a series of characters including Noah with his Ark and King David crowned.