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“Salvator Mundi” by Andrea Previtali

Andrea Previtali, Salvator Mundi (1519), oil on poplar, 61.6 x 53 cm, National Gallery

“Salvator Mundi” by Andrea Previtali

“Salvator Mundi” by Andrea Previtali shows Christ as Savior of the World, who raises his right hand in blessing and his left holds a crystal orb representing the earth. Salvator Mundi, which is Latin for Saviour of the World, is a subject of many iconography paintings depicting Christ with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand holding an orb surmounted by a cross, known as a globus cruciger.

The globus cruciger which is Latin for “cross-bearing orb”, has been a Christian symbol of authority since the Middle Ages, used on coins, in iconography, and with a sceptre as royal regalia. The cross represents Christ’s dominion over the world, and this theme was made famous by Northern painters such as Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Albrecht Dürer.

Andrea Previtali was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period, active mainly in Bergamo,  a northern Italian city,  northeast of Milan. He was a pupil of the painter Giovanni Bellini.

Reflections

  • The orb topped with a cross became the Christian symbol of authority in the royal regalia during medieval times. Should this royal symbol of power continue to be used in democracies?
  • Do royal portraits which show monarchs holding the orb derive from the Salvator Mundi tradition or antiquity traditions?

Exploring Christian Art

Salvator Mundi

  • Title:            Salvator Mundi
  • Artist:          Andrea Previtali
  • Year:            1519
  • Type:           Oil on poplar wood
  • Dimensions: Height: 61.6 cm (24.2 in); Width: 53 cm (20.8 in)
  • Museum:     The National Gallery, London

Andrea Previtali

  • Artist:          Andrea Previtali (also called Andrea Cordelliaghi)
  • Born:           1480
  • Died:           1528
  • Nationality: Italian
  • Movement: Renaissance
  • Notable works:

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    “If a man devotes himself to art,
    much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle.”
    – Albrecht Dürer

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    Photo Credit: 1) Andrea Previtali [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons