Pietro Ruzzolone, Painted Cross
Early 16th century
Galleria Regionale, Palermo, Sicily
Originally in the Convento di San Francesco, Caccamo
The front of the cross (on the left) follows earlier images of the crucifixion by showing Mary Magdalene embracing the foot of the cross and Mary and John attending on the left and right. At the top is a typical feature of painted crosses, a pelican reviving its young with its own blood (symbolic of Christ's self-sacrifice for humankind).
The finials on the back of the cross symbolically represent the four evangelists: the eagle at the top for John, the ox and lion at left and right for Luke and Mark, and the angel at the bottom for Matthew. Each evangelist holds a scroll with the first few words from his gospel.
Please follow this link for a large-scale image of the front and this link for a large-scale image of the back.
Read more about Crosses and Crucifixes and the pelican symbol.
Photographed at the Galleria Regionale by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.