The Ottonian period saw the revival of large-scale sculpture. With the dissolution of the Roman Empire,
large scale sculpture disappeared from European art. One reason for this might be the association large
figural sculpture had with images of Roman emperors or pagan gods. Other types of artistic production,
like manuscript illumination and the creation of fine metalwork, became much more important. But toward
the end of the 10th century, a life-sized wooden sculpture of the crucified Christ was made for Cologne
Cathedral in Germany. Known as the Gero Crucifix (Archbishop Gero of Cologne commissioned it), the
painted and gilded sculpture shows the suffering Christ, whose body hangs heavily, painfully stretching the
skin of his arms. Sculptures like this made Christ vividly present for worshippers, who might even imagine
that it was Christ himself they were seeing.
Gero Crucifix, c. 970
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