The National Gallery in London have announced their acceptance of Lo Spagna's Christ carrying the cross. This painting was accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax from the Estate of The Rt Hon the Countess of Sutherland by HM Government and allocated to the National Gallery and was negotiated by Sotheby's.
According to the gallery's press release:
In 'Christ Carrying the Cross', Lo Spagna has stripped away the usual narrative elements of the scene. Christ appears alone as he journeys towards death, without the raucous procession that traditionally accompanies him. Bending under the weight of the large wooden cross, Christ turns his gaze towards the viewer as he makes his way forward along the road to Calvary. Behind him a raised area of ground falls away to reveal a sweeping Umbrian landscape.
Lo Spagna was one of Pietro Perugino’s (living 1469; died 1523) most talented associates, at a time when Perugino was the most admired and successful artist in Central Italy. Christ Carrying the Cross is a rare example of Lo Spagna’s work on a small scale in the years around the turn of the 16th-century, the early part of his career as an independent master. He was still heavily indebted to Perugino, but his lively approach to figure and narrative reveals very directly the influence of Raphael (1483–1520), whom he must have worked alongside.
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