Part 1. Ta’ Giezu Crucifix, Valletta
Ta’ Ġieżu Crucifix is a mid-17th-century effigy that instills awe and wonderment on all those who set eyes upon it.
All the constituent elements, such as sculpted wood, parchment, gesso and finishing, masterfully kneaded together by Frate Innocenzo’s deep-seated faith, manage to reach that elusive delicate stage between the sensual and the spiritual.
The crucifix was commissioned by Fra Marco Rosset, an Aragonese Knight of the Order of St John who was also a founding member of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Cross, whose main aim was to spread the devotion to this miraculous crucifix. The Sicilian Frate Innocenzo sculpted this crucifix in wood around 1646, possibly whilst residing for a short while in Malta. Being a Franciscan Friar, with close relationship to the Holy Land, made it possible for this early Baroque sculpture to find its place at the Franciscan Church of St Mary of Jesus, better known as Ta’ Ġieżu, in Valletta. Its dramatic character, exhibiting the harsh marks inflicted on Christ’s body during his Passion, make it a distinctive baroque image. Contrary to other crucifixes wherein Christ looks upwards, communicating with God the Father, Frate Innocenzo’s looks down, straight into the worshiper’s eyes, thus forging a strong devotional and emotional bond.
Psalms 130:1-8 (KJV) Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.