Crucifixion - Stradano

Stradanus (Jan van der Straet), Crucifixion (detail), 1569. Oil on panel, Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, Florence.

Jan van der Straet, also known as Stradanus (1523–1605), was a Flemish artist who moved to Florence to study Italian art and culture. His painting of the crucifixion demonstrates the theological subtleties associated with depicting Jesus’ death following the Council of Trent, which required artists to paint narratives directly from Scripture. The renovation of Florence’s Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, which included Stradanus’s painting Crucifixion, was part of a citywide project to modernize chapels and reemphasize the teaching of biblical stories through art. Stradanus painted in a bold new style known as Mannerism. He broke from the conventional depictions of the crucifixion to capture the moment in Luke’s crucifixion narrative when Jesus says to the repentant thief, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).