Cicerchia's Passion of Christ
Niccoló Cicerchia (fl. 1364–1376).
La Passione del Nostro Signore Iesu Christo.
[Florence, ca. 1505–1515]. (BRB0981)
Illustrated with thirteen masterful woodcuts, this vernacular Italian retelling of Christ’s Passion was composed by a disciple of St. Catherine of Siena. The text, written in ottava rima (with an “abababcc” rhyme scheme), was performed as a sacra rappresentazione (“sacred performance,” or mystery play) for the Florentine public during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The work includes an imaginary dialogue between the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus that heightened the emotional impact of the Passion drama in ways that the biblical account could not. The exhibited woodcut represents the Pietà, an emotionally charged scene of lamentation over the body of the crucified Christ that was not described in the Gospels. This is the only recorded copy of this Florentine edition.