The Passion Canvases on Jeans Fabric

The Passion canvases on jeans fabric

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Technique and Dimensions:

Linen fiber dyed with indigo and painted with white lead


Mezzanine floor; in storage from MIBACT or ABAP Liguria Superintendence (without inv. no.)


Abbey of St. Nicholas of the Bush, Genoa

Object Type:



According to Vassili Kandinsky, the colour blue was an impulse of humans looking for their intimate nature - a colour that attracts humans towards the infinite and reawakens a desire for purity and a craving for the supernatural. The same thoughts must have been subconsciously shared by those who had commissioned the canvas that had to portray the Passion of Christ.

The blue canvas, painted in monochrome, are imprecisely halfway between popular devotion and cultured art. They were in the Abbey of St. Nicholas of the Bush in Polcevera Valley and they were made in fibre of linen dyed in indigo and painted with white lead. They are fully entitled to be considered illustrious ancestors of the canvas of Genoa or jeans. The collection is made of fourteen canvas, and dates back from 1538 to late XVIIth century. They were inspired by Albrecht Durer’s engravings portraying the Little Passion. The canvas were purchased in 2001 by the Italian State and they belong to the Fabrics Collection of the Archaeological Authority of Liguria, which placed them temporarily in the Museum for now. According to recent studies, these canvas represented the “sepulcrum” or Altar of Repos, an ephemeral setup for Holy Week. Probably they were placed inside the church to create a small chapel for the devotees.