The wooden crucifix in San Bartolomeo Church, Sora

In the church of San Bartolomeo in the city of Sora, there is one of the most important historical and artistic works of the area: the wooden crucifix of Sora.

The crucifix of Sora (Guide of Sora) was carved in Rome and donated by Cardinal Cesare Baronio, originally from Sora, to a local confraternity in 1564. 1564 is a sadly important date for the history of world art, because that year the world lost a man considered among the greatest artists of all time: Michelangelo Buonarroti.

The crucifix of Sora is a work strongly linked to the studio of ​​Michelangelo, and was realized just before Buonarroti died, probably by one of his closest collaborators. Among the various names proposed for the attribution, two in particular have been taken into consideration by recent historical and artistic studies: the students Daniele da Volterra and, to a lesser extent, Tiberio Calcagni.

The work depicts Christ crucified just having died on the cross. The face bent on the chest has lost all expression of human pain, the body and the turned arms form an almost perfect “Y”. The sculpture is an image of great realism, has dimensions equal to reality and seems to be in effect a body of a man in flesh and blood.

The accurate anatomical rendering of the musculature of the abdomen, thorax and legs, associated with dryness and slight angularity, make the crucifix of Sora a work of great value that time had damaged and that has now been returned to its splendour thanks to a careful restoration.

The particular feature of this restoration, performed by Chiara Munzi in 2009 (www.keorestauro.com), is that it has undone the damage done by a previous intervention that had compromised the work.

In fact, the crucifix had been cleaned with aggressive paint strippers and coarse abrasive tools that had caused the loss of the original painted surface of which few traces remained. A thick layer of a plastic material also covered what remained of the complexion, darkening the surface.

To understand how to intervene, radiographic investigations were carried out on the crucifix aimed at understanding the technique for execution. From these investigations it emerged that the sculpture was made with a single trunk of linden that also included the head of Christ made by carrying out a bifurcation of the trunk. To the main body were then added the protruding parts: the arms, buttocks, calves and feet.

The restoration work consisted in the removal from the surface of the plastic material (polybutyl methacrylate) using compresses soaked with different mixed solvents followed by anti-woodworm treatment.

At the same time, wood was used to reinforce the statue, old stucco was removed and new surface material was applied with specially formulated materials used for the restoration of works of art. The work ended with a reintegration of the painting that led to the enhancement of the original appearance of the Sora crucifix.

The restoration was also performed on the non-wood part of the loincloth of Christ, which was made of plastered and painted linen fabric. The loincloth was disassembled and after being cleaned and repaired, it was placed in the correct position, following the archive images prior to the earlier intervention of 2007.

If you go to Sora do not miss the chance to let yourself be moved by the expressiveness of this wooden sculpture of the Crucified Christ.

Guide of Sora

Sora was founded by the Volsci along the Liri River and was conquered by Rome in 345 BC. In 303 […]