The Resurrection of the dead

Plaque
ca. 1250 (made)
The Resurrection of the dead thumbnail 1
The Resurrection of the dead thumbnail 2
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

An example of the finest quality Limoges enamel, this object is in brilliant condition and no similar plaque is known. The plaque depicts three saints rising from their graves (as described in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 27.52-53) and scrolling plant decoration on a background of rich blue. It possibly comes from a crucifix of which another part is in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. The two objects share several common decorative elements, including the use of a pseudo kufic script.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Champlevé enamel on copper
Brief Description
An oblong plaque, Champlevé enamel on copper-gilt
Physical Description
An oblong plaque, Champlevé enamel on copper-gilt. The plaque depicts three saints rising from their graves (as described in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 27.52-53) and scrolling plant decoration on ground of rich blue. The two end saints lift the lids of their tombs, while the central figure steps forth holding both arms aloft. The lower border is decorated with half a verse, the sides with pseudo kufic script.
Dimensions
  • Height: 13cm
  • Width: 23.1cm
  • Depth: 1.7cm
  • Weight: 0.72kg
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
PROPOSITO FIXO CRVCIFIXVS CV[M] CRVCIFIXO (Half verse running left to right along the lower border. A rhyming Latin hexameter continued from an upper plaque showing the Crucifixion. Possibly a reference to the prophecy of Christ crucified between thieves (Isaiah 53:12, Matthew 27:38 etc.) (cf. Peter of Blois, Opera omnia, p. 361: Ecce latro pede post Christi vestigia fixo Introit ad regnum crucifixus cum crucifixo))
Gallery Label
  • THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD Copper, gilt and with champlevé enamel French (Limoges) 13th century From a large scale composition this was probably placed at the foot of the Crucifixion. The border is engraved with an early form of Arabic lettering known as kufic, but is not translatable.
  • Plaque with the resurrection of the dead About 1250 With another plaque (now in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore) this may once have adorned the base of an exceptionally large crucifi x. Both have the same pseudo-Kufic (Arabic) script on the border. This plaque shows the dead rising up after the Crucifi xion, as recounted in St Matthew’s Gospel. France, Limoges Gilded copper with champlevé enamel Inscribed in Latin, with part of a rhyming poem about the Crucifi xion Museum no. M.104-1945(2009)
  • SAINTS RISING FROM THEIR GRAVES AT THE TIME OF THE CRUCIFIXION, (ST. MATT. XXVII 52-3) Champlevé enamel on copper gilt Border with the latter half of a verse; proposito fixo crvcifixvs cv crucifixo, and simulated inscription in the Kufic characters. French (Limoges); middle of the 13th century From Charlecote Park
Object history
A letter in departmental records from Major B. Fairfax-Lucy, reports that the plaque was previously at Charlecote Park House in Warwickshire having probably been brought to England by a member of the Lucy family. Bought by the museum from Sir Montgomerie Fairfax-Lucy in 1945.



Historical significance: An example of the finest quality Limoges enamel, the object is in brilliant condition and no similar plaque is known.



An individual version of Cufic frequently appeared on medieval enamels. Other examples include two ciboria one in the British Museum and the other in the Louvre and a reliquary chasse known as the chasse de saint Calmine. The enamels ornamented in this way are usually dated to the second quater of the thirteenth century. An ultimate Spanish origin for the deocration seems probable, and it is possible that jewish craftsmen were partly instrumental in in spreading the idea of using non-Christian characters. The actual patterns vary very little.
Historical context
Possibly from a crucifix of which another part is in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore (museum number 44.22) The Baltimore plaque depicts the Virgin Mary, scrolling plant decoration and a border of pseudo kufic script, many elements of which match the present plaque.
Subjects depicted
Literary ReferenceMatthew 27.52-52 : And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many.
Summary
An example of the finest quality Limoges enamel, this object is in brilliant condition and no similar plaque is known. The plaque depicts three saints rising from their graves (as described in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 27.52-53) and scrolling plant decoration on a background of rich blue. It possibly comes from a crucifix of which another part is in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. The two objects share several common decorative elements, including the use of a pseudo kufic script.
Bibliographic Reference
Spittle, S.D.T. Cufic Lettering in Christian Art (Archaeological Jornal, 1954) p. 138
Collection
Accession Number
M.104-1945

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record createdJune 8, 2006
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