Accueil Polychromies Secrètes
musée des Augustins
Mairie Toulouse

Researching the history of art

Crucifixion of the Parliament of Toulouse,
detail, after restoration.

Photo : Daniel Martin.
The Crucifixion of the Parliament of Toulouse appears to demonstrate the mixed character of Toulousain and / or Languedocian painting derived from several movements of Mediterranean origin existing in the South of France. Whilst it provides indisputable evidence of the progressive introduction of pictorial innovations, particularly of Flemish origin, it nevertheless remains faithful to the strictly regional, heavily archaic iconographic conventions which caused Languedocian painting to retain a Gothic character. A rare example of easel painting in Toulouse, the work under consideration is a significant geographic and cultural milestone from the second half of the 15th Century, a perfect illustration of this transitional period marked by the emergence of a lively artistic centre, a prerequisite for the advent of the Renaissance in Languedoc.

The iconographic analysis reveals a composition of great simplicity, which conforms to the traditional representation of the Crucifixion in the presence of the Virgin and Saint John. The identity of the royal donors has been a problem for many years, but is pivotal to gaining a better insight into the circumstances of the creation of this remarkable work.

And lastly the – complex – stylistic study reveals a network of Provencal, Spanish and Northern influences from which, unfortunately, it has been impossible to distinguish a precise personality. A comparison with known contemporary works such as the stained glass window in the Saint Louis Chapel in the Cathedral of Toulouse and the Crucifixion painted for the Parliament of Paris reveals links (both iconographic and stylistic) between these two works and the anonymous creator of the Toulouse Crucifixion.