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Crucifixion (1910)

Eric Rowton Gill

Hoptonwood stone, with added colour

Tate, London, Liverpool and St Ives

Crucifixion (1910)

Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) © Tate, London



Sculpture, Relief


Hoptonwood Stone

Physical Object Description:

Incised: NEC. IN TIBIIS. VIRI / BENEPLACITUM. ERIT. EI (Psalm 147.v.10) and raised:

KAIEΣIN / EYNOYXOI / OITINEΣ /EYNOYXIΣ/ ANEAYTO / YΣΔIA THN / BAΣIÅEIAN / TΩNOYPA / NΩN/ OΔYNAME / NOΣXΩRE/ INXΩPEITΩ (Matthew 19.v 12) - with symbol of an eye in a hand, on back


94.6 x 78.1 x 12.7 cm

Accession Number:



Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 1920

Ownership history:

Purchased from the Chenil Gallery. London at the artist's two-man exhibition (with James Dickson Innes) by Roger Fry (1866-1934) and Robert Ross (1869-1918) for the Contemporary Art Society (as 'Two Bas-Reliefs'; together with 'A Roland for an Oliver/Joie de Vivre', presented to University of Hull Art Collection, 1976), 1911; presented to Tate, 1920
In 1910 Eric Gill made a pair of carved bas-reliefs. The Crucifixion and A Roland for an Oliver were exhibited at the Chenil Gallery, London in January 1911 and they were both acquired by Robert Ross and Roger Fry for the new Contemporary Art Society, which they had co-founded and were on its Executive Committee. The Crucifixion is incised on the back with the symbol of an eye on a hand; on the front, to left and right of the upright of the cross, in Greek from the biblical gospel of Matthew 19 : 12; and on the upright itself is a Latin inscription from the biblical Psalm 146 : 10. A Roland for an Oliver - a phrase that means tit for tat, an evenly matched contest - referring to its pair of a naked male (Christ) - depicts a nude woman and bears an inscription from Swinburne's Hymn to Proserpine, lines 35 and 23–4. Gill's working title for them were 'Schmerz' (agony) and 'Joie' (ecstasy). It has been said that one is a symbol of renunciation and the other a symbol of acceptance. The Crucifixion (1910) was accepted by the Tate Gallery in 1920 but A Roland for an Oliver (1910) was not accepted for presentation by the CAS until 1976 when University of Hull Art Collection took it on.

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