From where does the crucifix originate?

This partially preserved crucifix made its way into the Art Museum of Estonia collection after the Second World War. Unfortunately, nothing is known about its previous location. Judging by its style, the crucifix was completed around 1700 in Christian Ackermann’s workshop.

With which work can the crucifix be compared?

The Art Museum of Estonia crucifix bears the greatest resemblance to the figure of Christ at Koeru Church. The body, feet, and the folds of the loincloth of both crucified figures are depicted similarly. The nail from the wound in the foot has been lost over time, yet a large hole that runs through the feet gives an idea of the nail’s former location.

The compositional similarities of the two crucifix figures allow us to assume that the sculptures were carved in one and the same workshop. Since the contour of the Art Museum of Estonia crucifix is sketchy and material has been built up on it as if to improve its composition (for instance, the lock of hair on the left shoulder that is affixed using dowels), it can be speculated that it was a preparatory work for the Koeru crucifix.

What was the original finishing of the crucifix like?

Only a few fragments of the original finishing of the crucifix have survived. Based on these fragments, it can nevertheless be claimed that the painting that coats the sculpture stresses Christ’s sufferings (his body is painted pale pink, the drops of blood are painted red) and holiness (his loincloth is golden) realistically. Regardless of extensive losses of the painted colours, the painter’s fine brushwork can be seen in depicting the bleeding wounds.

Christ’s loincloth looks like it is golden, yet the results of technical examinations showed that it was coated with less costly part-gold, in other words Zwischgold – silver leaf was coated with an especially thin layer of gold