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Note sul Volto Santo di Lucca a margine delle recenti analisi scientifiche sull’opera

Stefano Martinelli


This article stems from a speech given at the Conference Day held in Lucca on 12 September 2020, when the results of the scientific investigations performed on the Volto Santo were presented. The materials from which the crucifix is made have been dated to the 9th century using 14C, but discrepancies in the style of the work leave several issues open. The article addresses these problems while also taking into consideration the development of the devotion to the Holy Face. Furthermore, iconographical and stylistic considerations show that the crucifix only makes sense within the frame of the Ottonian artistic season, during which the typology of the crucifix robed in a long tunic was widespread. Therefore, many elements of historical as well as liturgical nature suggest dating the crucifix to the first half of the 11th century.