Skip to content

Saint Francis Collecting the Blood of Christ

Carlo Crivelli , 1489 - 1490

San Francesco raccoglie il sangue di Cristo di Carlo Crivelli

The panel, despite its small size, shows a complex scene. The background opens on the left into a landscape with a castle, visible beyond the arch. A bare tree and a porphyry column allude to death and the flagellation. Various instruments of the passion are leaning against the column: others – nails, crown of thorns and whips – are hanging on the arm of the cross held by Christ.
The Redeemer is standing on a rich piece of fabric with a gold background, which also acts as a backdrop, and he is holding open the wound in his ribcage so that the blood can trickle out and be collected in Saint Francis’ gold cup. Kneeling and with his face raised towards Christ, the saint has been depicted in quite a natural pose, slightly bent. The space on the right is closed by a brick wall with patches of grass on it.
The subject of collecting Christ’s blood was not at all common during the fifteenth century, although other renowned examples can be found in the Veneto region, Crivelli’s native land. It was probably linked to a revival of the cult of the sacred blood, sustained by mendicant orders, and the person who commissioned the painting was perhaps a Franciscan friar, since the patron saint is present. This hypothesis can be confirmed by the many references in the picture alluding to the martyrdom, death and Resurrection of Christ. From Crivelli’s late production, this work was probably for private devotion of an educated patron.

Data Sheet


Carlo Crivelli, 1435-1495


1489 - 1490

Material and technique

Tempera on canvas


19 cm x 13 cm


Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli bequest, 1879

Inventory number

14th Century Room

The 14th Century Room, along with the 18th Century Room and the Perugino Room, housed much of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli’s collection of paintings. Historically known as the Third Picture Room and formerly the Venetian Room, it brings together works painted between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries using the gold background technique.


The Museum hosts over 300 paintings. Among them, many Italian works from the Renaissance: masterpieces from Tuscany (Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Pollaiuolo), Lombardy (Luini, Boltraffio, Solario) and Veneto (Bellini, Mantegna). Important is also the group of 18th century Italian painting (Guardi, Canaletto, Tiepolo, Fra Galgario). In the collection, there are mainly portraits and small size paintings.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay updated on collections, exhibitions, events, and much more.