This oil painting on canvas is one of the great treasures housed inside the Co-Cathedral of Santa María la Redonda in the Spanish city of Logroño . But why? Well, because numerous art scholars of the Renaissance attribute the authorship of this work made in 1540 to Miguel Angel Buonarrotti, of whom not many works are known easel, little more than a dozen, while some of his mural paintings are extremely famous, especially the Vault of the Sistine Chapel and the wall with the scene of the Last Judgment.
Crucifixion attributed to Michelangelo
However, it must be said that it cannot be guaranteed that this canvas came from the hands of the great artist of the Cinquecento, since there are several copies with the identical scene of the Crucifixion in both France and England. However, the work of the La Rioja co-cathedral is different and we are going to try to unravel why.
Giorgio Vasari, the quintessential biographer of Renaissance artists, tells us about a letter from the poetess Vittoria Colonna in the citing that Michelangelo gave him a painting with this scene.
Well, Vittoia Colonna, in addition to being a poet, was also a very cultured, devout woman, descended from the aristocratic Colonna family. For that reason in the year 1509 shemarried Ferrante Francesco d'Avalos, Marquis of Pescara, whose domains were south of Italy, in an area then under Spanish rule. And coincidentally, this character originated from a family from Ábalos, a town in La Rioja.
Years after their marriage, in 1525 the Battle of Pavia took place, in which the troops of the King of France, Francis I, and the Spanish king, Carlos I, who ultimately emerged victorious. But beyond the outcome of the conflict, what interests us is that Ferrante Francesco d'Avalos himself intervened as Captain General, who was wounded and finally died.
His widow was heartbroken, and in memory of her husband she wrote sad poems, some of which are included in the epistolary relationship she had for years with Michelangelo, with whom she was joined by both artistic interests and a deep religious devotion.
her In fact, she asked for a small picture of the Crucifixion to help her in her prayers. Some researchers say that Michelangelo would make various sketches and tests, which would be the copies that circulate in other countries, but that Vittoria Colonna chose this work because she was moved by the spirituality of the figures.
Curiously, then, she would have only the figures of Christ on the Cross, and the Virgin Mary and Saint John on the sides, in addition to the two angels emerging from the clouds. The Mary Magdalene that we see embracing the cross would be missing, and it is said thatwhen Vittoria Colonna died, Michelangelo himself decided to incorporate this woman who evokes her friend, and who therefore wears a handkerchief on her shoulder as a symbol of widowhood.
Anyway, so far everything seems confirmed, but it would still be clear how the work got to Logroño. Something that the vast majority of historians do not see as viable, and think that in reality, we are facing a copy of the original that Michelangelo would paint, which was actually lost. So, as on other occasions, researchers do not agree, which is why regarding the Crucifixion of Logroño it cannot be ascertained who its author was, and it appears in the books as a work attributed.