Mystic Crucifixion, 1497 by Sandro Botticelli
Now regrettably severely damaged, Mystic Crucifixion depicts Christ on the cross in the foreground against a white field. The penitent Mary Magdalene is clinging to the base of the cross in a passionate, almost wild gesture. Below her red gown, a creature is running away to the left; while the poor condition of the picture no longer allows us to identify it with certainty, it could be interpreted as a fox or a wolf. An angel clothed in white is standing on the opposite side, striking a young lion dead with his sword. The city of Florence may be seen in the background, spread out in bright light under a clear sky. Within the city walls, the dome of the Cathedral, the Campanile, the Baptistery and the Palazzo Vecchio - the seat of government - to name but a few buildings, are readily recognizable. A dark black cloud has just moved to the right-hand side of the picture; it is filled with devilish beings hurling flames down upon the earth. At the behest of God the Father, hovering in a glory in the top-left corner of the picture, this cloud has been driven away by angels; they are as good as invisible today, and only their shields, bearing a red cross on a white field, can be discerned.