Around 1565-1570, Sebastiano Filippi, whose name was Bastianino, created an unusual large-format painting "Living Cross" for the convent church of Santa Caterina Martire in Ferrara, Italy. For the first time in more than 100 years, the altar, which has been restored through a comprehensive restoration, has become available to the public as part of a specialized exhibition.
Bastianino ("little Sebastian") was, together with Bastarolo and Scarsellino, one of the most prominent artists during the reign of Duke Alfonso II d'Este (1559-97). He worked at the end of an era when Ferrara was one of the most important cultural and political centers of Europe under the rule of the d'Este family. The altar of the Living Cross, almost three meters high, was created around 1565–1570 for the convent church of Santa Caterina Martyr in Ferrara. The iconographically unusual depiction of a cross with hands at the ends of the beams is an allegory of the Old and New Testaments with many accompanying scenes.