Iceman Crucified #4

  • Ralph Fasanella, Iceman Crucified #4, 1958, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the estate of Ralph Fasanella, 2013.69, © 1958, Estate of Ralph Fasanella

The Iceman Crucified series encapsulates some of Fasanella’s most powerful and poignant artistic themes. His father — Joe the Iceman — is cast as the crucified Christ to explore ideas of suffering and sacrifice, memory and personal growth. The series was a turning point for Fasanella; his artistic vision broke free from the confines of realism and his imagery became deeply personal.

As a child, Ralph worked alongside his father on his ice delivery route, putting in long hard days on tough streets. Iceman Crucified #4 was the final work in and pinnacle of the series. In it Fasanella encompasses old and new worlds and is simultaneously nostalgic and celebratory. The Christ figure is transformed into a heroic presence, serene and full of grace. The traditional INRI is replaced with the phrase that came to be equated with the artist himself: Lest We Forget” — a clear message to viewers to remember who we are and where we come from. 

Iceman Crucified #4
Not on view
3625 in. (91.463.5 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the estate of Ralph Fasanella

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Religion – New Testament – Crucifixion
  • Figure male
  • Italian
  • Figure group
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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