The Crucifixion and the Maries at the Sepulchre (for the reverse)

Panel
ca. 515-530 (made)
The Crucifixion and the Maries at the Sepulchre (for the reverse) thumbnail 1
The Crucifixion and the Maries at the Sepulchre (for the reverse) thumbnail 2
+4
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Ivory was used all over Europe for religious works of art. It was often combined with precious metals and usually took the form of relief panels, for book covers, portable altars and caskets. An almost unbroken tradition of ivory carving extends from the Roman and Byzantine empires until the end of the 14th century. From about 1250, Paris became the centre of production for figures and reliefs intended for private devotion. The reverse shows the upper half of a leaf of a consular diptych of about 520-30.

The ivory formed part of a book cover together with an ivory depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ in the British Museum.

The Crucifixion side is a good example for the iconography and the production of ivory in the late ninth-century Metz. Some elements of the iconographic formula such as the personifications of Sea and Earth and the Crucifixion are based on ivories of the Liuthar group, i.e.from the cover of the pericopes of Henry II in the Residenzmuseum in Munich of about 860. More important is the re-use of a leaf of an early sixth-century Consular diptych for the new carvings with scenes from the Passion of Christ and related events.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved elephant ivory
Brief Description
Consular Diptych, upper half of leaf, and on reverse plaque 'The Crucifixion and the Maries at the Sepulchre', Constantiople or Rome, ca. 515-530 and France (Metz), ca. 850-875
Physical Description
The front side shows the upper half of a sixth century consular diptych, partly planed away with an engraving of a palmette ornament resembling the foliage border on the obverse.The lower half of the same tablet is preserved in the British Museum with the Betrayal and Mocking of Christ in three zones within a foliated border on the front by a ninth-century carver.

The Crucifixion side / reverse side:

Above, Crist in a tunic hangs on the cross with a serpent at the base. On the left Longinus, besides whom stands the Virgin, pierces Christ's side; further to the left is one of the crucified thieves. To the right Stephaton hold the sponge, beside him is St John weeping, at the extreme right the second thief. In the middle compartment an angel, holding the cross in his left hand and pointing with his right to the group of the Holy Women, sits upon the open tomb, above which rises a low turret with a cupola; to the right are two sleeping soldiers. Above are soldiers casting lots for Christ's cloth. On the right is the expulsion of the Synagogue by a figure, symbolising the Church holding a trident; the Synagogue is shown a seated figure with a nimbus representing the City of Jerusalem, holding a banner and attended by an armed man. Below, in the right- and left-hand corners, are seated the personifications of Earth and Sea. The whole is emclosed in a border of foliage.
Dimensions
  • Height: 17cm
  • At top width: 10.1cm
  • Depth: 0.6cm
  • At bottom width: 10cm
Object history
Formerly in the Webb collection.



Historical significance: This is a good example for the iconography and the production of ivory in the late nine-century Metz. Some elements of the iconographic formula such as the personifications of Sea and Earth and the Crucifixion are based on ivories of the Liuthar group, i.e.from the cover of the pericopes of Henry II in the Residenzmuseum in Munich of about 860. More important is the re-use of a leaf of an early sixth-century Consular diptych for the new carvings with scenes from the Passion of Christ and related events.
Historical context
The ivory formed part of a book cover together with an ivory depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ in the British Museum.
Production
for the consular diptych / for the Cruzifixion scene (reverse): Reims or Metz, ca. 850-875
Subjects depicted
Summary
Ivory was used all over Europe for religious works of art. It was often combined with precious metals and usually took the form of relief panels, for book covers, portable altars and caskets. An almost unbroken tradition of ivory carving extends from the Roman and Byzantine empires until the end of the 14th century. From about 1250, Paris became the centre of production for figures and reliefs intended for private devotion. The reverse shows the upper half of a leaf of a consular diptych of about 520-30.



The ivory formed part of a book cover together with an ivory depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ in the British Museum.



The Crucifixion side is a good example for the iconography and the production of ivory in the late ninth-century Metz. Some elements of the iconographic formula such as the personifications of Sea and Earth and the Crucifixion are based on ivories of the Liuthar group, i.e.from the cover of the pericopes of Henry II in the Residenzmuseum in Munich of about 860. More important is the re-use of a leaf of an early sixth-century Consular diptych for the new carvings with scenes from the Passion of Christ and related events.
Associated Object
Bibliographic References
  • A. Goldschmidt, Die Elfenbeinskulpturen aus der karolingischen und sächsischen Kaiser, I, Berlin, 1914, no. 131. M. Longhurst, Carvings in Ivory, London, 1927,pp. 70-71.
  • Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1867. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868., p. 10.
  • Ferber, Stanley. Crucifixion Iconography in a Group of Carolingian Ivory Plaque. Art Bulletin. 48, 1966. pp. 323-334.
  • Cf. Schwartz, J. Quelques Sources Antiques d'Ivoires Carolingiens. Cahiers archéologiques. 11, 1960. pp. 145-162. fig. 3.
  • Volbach, Wolfgang Fritz. Elfenbeinarbeiten der Spätantike und des frühen Mittelalters. Mainz am Rhein: Von Zabern, 1976. n. 44. tatel. 24.
  • Margret, Ribbert. Untersuchungen zu den Elfenbeinarbeiten der älteren Metzer Gruppe. Bonn: Verlag M. Wehle, 1992. pp. 102, 104, 286. note. 311. pl. 191.
  • Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929. Part I. p. 70.
  • Trusted, Majorie. ed. The Making of Sculpture: the Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London: V&A Publications, 2007. p. 117, pl. 208.
  • 799: Kunst und Kultur der Karolingerzeit. Paderborn, 1999. p. 831.
  • Williamson, Paul. Medieval Ivory Carvings. Early Christian to Romanesque. London, V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010, pp. 50-53, cat.no. 7 and pp. 198-201, cat.no. 49
Collection
Accession Number
266-1867

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record createdApril 13, 2005
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