Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5


A work made of oil on panel.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of oil on panel.




María Josefa Sánchez
Spanish, active 1639-1649

About this artwork

This fine example of a small cross made for individual worship is also exceptional because it is signed by a woman artist, María Josefa Sánchez. Sánchez was active from 1639 to 1649, probably in Castile, but little else is known about her. Women rarely worked as professional artists in 17th-century Spain; those few who did usually trained in the workshops of their fathers. Some women artists of the period, Sánchez included, may have been nuns who produced devotional works for monastic communities.

Here the body of Jesus is gracefully posed in contrast to his agonized expression, with carefully depicted drops of blood spilling from his hands and feet. The glowing orbs near his hands represent the sun and the moon, a reference to the darkness of the eclipse at the moment of his death. Unusually for Crucifixion scenes, Sánchez included the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, identified by the celestial symbols that surround her, at Christ’s feet.


On View, Gallery 212


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


María Josefa Sánchez




Spain (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on panel


63 × 39 cm (24 13/16 × 15 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

C. Harker and Mae Svoboda Rhodes Acquisition Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions