Church of San Niccolò al Carmine


Stefano Volpi (Siena from 1594 to 1630 approx.)
Seventeenth century

The painting, now in the counter façade to the left of the main entrance, originally adorned the altar dedicated to The Crucifix and Saint Martha. The image represents Christ’s Crucifixion although the body of Jesus is not on the cross. In the chapel there is news of a wooden crucifix hanging over the painting which was later moved to another church. A skull, identified as Adam’s, is at the foot of the cross to relate the original sin with the redemption wrought by Christ for all, and also with the Calvary, the site where executions were performed (Golgotha ​​means skull). The Pious Women with Mary, who faints for the immense grief in the arms of Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleophas are to the left side of the cross, while Saint John the Evangelist and a Carmelite bishop, possibly Saint Andrew Corsini, stand on the right. 
Christ died on the ninth hour - three o'clock in the afternoon - of Good Friday and in that moment an unnatural darkness fell across the Earth, as depicted in the painting.
The predella which used to be under the lower frame is now under Beccafumi’s work. It consists of five panels representing scenes from the life of some Carmelite Saints, Saint Charles Borromeo and, in the centre, Jesus Christ lowered from the cross.