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  • Place of origin:

    Byzantium (made)
    Italy (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1100-1200 (made)
    1400-1500 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze, gilded, cast, engraved

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A gilt-bronze triptych, depicting the Enthroned Virgin and Child, and on the wings, St Gregory of Nazanzios, known as St Gregory the Theologian, and St John Chrysostom. The elaborate detail of the decoration of the throne is especially remarkable, and it has been noted that the triptych has a close resemblance to carved ivory examples. Few triptychs in bronze have survived. Small-scale triptychs like this were made for and used in private, personal devotion.

Physical description

Triptych, gilt bronze, cast and engraved, with a separately cast, later, cornice and base.The method of pinning the triptych to its cornice and base is close to that found on Byzantine ivories.
On the interior: The central panel depicts a nimbed Virgin seated frontally on an elaborate throne and holding the Christ Child on her knees. The throne has robust legs and uprights, with a pierced trellis back; the Virgin's feet rest upon an arcade, and she is seated upon two richly decorated cusions.The Virgin is further identified by the inscription above the throne, 'Mother of God'. Each wing depicts a standing and nimbed bishop saint wearing ecclesiastical vestments and holding in their veiled left hand a Gospel book with a decorated cover. Each figure is identified by their inscriptions. That on the right is one of the Fathers of the Church, St Gregory of Nazianzos, known as St Gregory the Theologian, who gestures to the book with his right hand: that on the left is another of the Fathers of the Church, St John Chrysostom, who raises his right hand in blessing.
On the exterior: Each of the wings is decorated with a ribbed processional cross, at the centre and at the end of each arm is a rosette. Each cross is flanked by the inscription 'Jesus Christ Conquers'. Each wing is later stamped with a shield bearing armorials, possibly those of the Pisani or Riva family of Venice.

Place of Origin

Byzantium (made)
Italy (possibly, made)


1100-1200 (made)
1400-1500 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze, gilded, cast, engraved

Marks and inscriptions

Mother of God

Jesus Christ Conquers


Height: 160 mm, Width: 119 mm, Depth: 25 mm, Width: 190 mm open

Object history note

Purchased by the Museum in 1855

Istanbul/Byzantium Exhibition RF 2010/62.

Historical significance: This is one of few cast pieces of the 12th century, and as the style is comparable to ivories of an earlier date, it has been suggested that the panels may have been cast directly from carved ivory panels.

Historical context note

Triptychs of this size were made for personal, private devotion.

Descriptive line

Triptych, Gilt bronze, depicting the Enthroned Virgin and Child, 12th century, Byzantine, with 15th century, Italian additions.

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

V. Coronelli, 'Blasone Veneto', Venice, 1702
O.M. Dalton, 'Byzantine Art and Archaeology', New York, 1911, p. 461
Olcer, Nazan, From Byzantion to Istanbul: 8000 Years of a Capital, Istanbul: Sakip Sabanci Museum, 2010.
Exposition Internationale d'Art Byzantin, 28 Mai-9 Juillet, 1931 Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 1931
Byzantine Art, a European Art, Athens : Printing Office of the Institut Français d'Athènes, 1964
Talbot Rice, David, Masterpieces of Byzantine Art, Edinburgh Festival Society, Ediinburgh, 1958
Lafontaine-Dosogne, Jacqueline & de Smet, Robert, Splendeur de Byzance: exposition 2 oct.-2 déc. 1982, Musées royaux d'art et d'histoire, Bruxelles, Europalia,1982

Labels and date

On the outside, two crosses with inscriptions in Greek "Jesus Christ Conquers".
Byzantine; 12th century []

Production Note

The triptych 1100-1200; the cornice, base and armorials 1400-1500


Bronze; Gold


Cast; Engraved; Gilding


Metalwork; Christianity


Metalwork Collection

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