A Processional Cross from the Year 1545

Today I thought we'd take a quick look at a processional cross that was made in the year 1545. This particular cross is gilded in silver and includes decoration on both the front and back sides. On the front side we find a typical, traditional crucifixion setting, with four additional Greek crosses terminating the end of each branch of the cross -- a very traditional design. 

The corpus of the crucified Christ is quite detailed considering its overall proportions, including the addition of a halo (which has fortunately survived the rigours of time).

On the front facing side, we find at the very top an image of the Pelican in Her Piety -- which of course comes with symbolic reference to act of self-sacrificing one's own flesh and blood, just as Christ sacrificed himself for our sakes. 

The remaining figures on the front side are comprised of the saints who stood with Christ at the foot of the cross; namely Our Lady (of Sorrows), the disciple St. John and St. Mary Magdalen,

Our Lady of Sorrows

St. John the Evangelist

St. Mary Magdalen

Turning the cross and looking at the reverse side of this processional cross, we see a prominent, central depiction of St. Alessandro, a Roman martyr, depicted holding his banner and wearing his armour (for he was a centurion in the Roman legions).  

S. Alessandro

Surrounding him in turn are medallion-cross images of the four gospel writers: St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. 

St. Luke

St. John

St. Mark

St. Matthew

For those who might wonder why S. Alessandro was given such a prominent depiction, this question can be answered by one of the inscriptions on this cross which make it clear that this particular processional cross was made for a church for whom S. Alessandro was its patron saint. 

We likewise know that the particular author of this work was one "Simone di Terciis" (Simone de Terzi) for, as is common in the metalsmithing world, he "signed" his work. This is also why we know the specific dating of this work to the year 1545. 

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