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Plaque - The Resurrection of the dead

The Resurrection of the dead

  • Object:

    Plaque

  • Place of origin:

    Limoges (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1250 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Champlevé enamel on copper

  • Museum number:

    M.104-1945

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery, case 21

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Limoges (made)

Date

ca. 1250 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Champlevé enamel on copper

Marks and inscriptions

PROPOSITO FIXO CRVCIFIXVS CV[M] CRVCIFIXO
Fixed by precept, Christ crucified with the crucified
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)

Dimensions

Height: 13 cm, Width: 23.1 cm, Depth: 1.7 cm, Weight: 0.72 kg

Object history note

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 note

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.

Descriptive line

An oblong plaque, Champlevé enamel on copper-gilt

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

Spittle, S.D.T. Cufic Lettering in Christian Art (Archaeological Jornal, 1954) p. 138

Labels and date

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 []

Materials

Enamel; Copper

Techniques

Enamelling

Subjects depicted

Saints

Categories

Religion; Christianity; Death

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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