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Christ in Majesty

  • Object:

    Relief

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    mid 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved elephant ivory

  • Museum number:

    426-1884

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a reduced copy of an original relief - probably of the late 11th century - formerly in the collection of Count Wallerstein at Maihingen.
Several other copies exist. All of the copies reproduce the same error in the bottom left corner, where the Lion of St. Mark has been given the head of the Eagle of St John, which already appears at the top right. This is probably the result of using a plaster cast of the original as a model, where the head of the Lion has been obscured and appears to resemble an eagle

Physical description

Carved oblong ivory relief depicting Christ in Majesty. Christ, holding a cross in his right hand, is standing - or rather floating - under a pierced canopy surmounted by the Dove of the Holy Ghost. In the corners are the symbols of teh Evangelists.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)

Date

mid 19th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved elephant ivory

Dimensions

Height: 9.8 cm, Width: 4.1 cm

Object history note

Purchased from a Mr Scott, Peckham Grove, London, £20.
Bought as 'Byzantine, 11th century'. This is a reduced copy of a German walrus ivory relief, formerly in the Oettingen-Wallerstein collection in Maihingen. Several other copies exist. All of the copies reproduce the same error in the bottom left corner, where the Lion of St. Mark has been given the head of the Eagle of St John, which already appears at the top right. This is probably the result of using a plaster cast of the original as a model, where the head of the Lion has been obscured and appears to resemble an eagle. It seems likely that the carved copies were made in South Germany, both Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg have been suggested.

Historical context note

Copied from an original probably late 11th century relief in the collection of Count Wallerstein at Maihingen. Plaster casts of these were available from the middle of the 19th century.

Descriptive line

Relief, carved elephant ivory, depicting Christ in Majesty, a copy (forgery) of a German relief probably of late 11th century, Germany, probably 1850-75

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1884. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1885. pp. 37
Longhurst, Margaret, H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. II. London: The Board of Education, 1929. pp.126
Swarzenski, G. Die Regensburger Buchmalerei. 1901. pp.136
c.f. Die Kunstdenkmale de Königreiches Bayern. I. 3. 1902-8
c.f. Molinier. A. Oppenheim Collection. 1904. No. 84, pl. L
Berliner, R. Jahrbuch. Munich XII. 1921-2. pp.44-5. fig. 4
c.f. Katalog des Bayerischen National-museums. V. Graf. No. 509.
Williamson, Paul. Medieval Ivory Carvings. Early Christian to Romanesque. London, V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010, pp. 444-5 , cat.no. 118

Production Note

probably 1850-75

Materials

Elephant ivory

Subjects depicted

Eagles (birds); Crosses (objects)

Categories

Fakes & forgeries; Sculpture; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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