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Plaque

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    1400-1420 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold and painted enamel

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:

    M.546-1910

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 52, shelf A, box 1

This plaque might have formed part of a small devotional altarpiece. The figures flanking the cross are the Virgin and St John the Evangelist. The exquisite detail of this scene was executed in painted enamel, a new technique associated with the Burgundian court. From around 1350–1450 the Dukes of Burgundy were the wealthiest and most powerful family in northern Europe, spending fortunes on the arts and architecture.

Physical description

Painted enamel on a round-arched gold plaque; a narrow rim of gold is left around the edge. Depicted is the Crucifixion. The cross is in gold against a black sky; it is fixed into the green ground; to the left and right are the Virgin and St. John, both in white. Christ, with white hair and beard, wears a white loin-cloth and a blue crown of thorns; the nails that pierce his hands and feet are also blue. Blood drips from his hands and feet. Above the cross is a white label inscribed INRI in Gothic letters. The haloes are in gold, and the flesh is pink.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (made)

Date

1400-1420 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gold and painted enamel

Dimensions

Height: 4.1 cm, Width: 2.5 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: This plaque is of great importance and rarity as an early example of the technique of enamel, which appears to have been invented in the 15th century.

Descriptive line

Gold plaque with painted enamel depicting the Crucifixion. Southern Netherlands, about 1400-20.

Materials

Gold; Enamel

Techniques

Enamelled

Subjects depicted

Crucifixion; Christianity; Saints; Figures; Crosses; Faith

Categories

Metalwork; Jewellery; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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