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Christ in Majesty with St Matthew

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and painted alabaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:

    A.169-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This panel may have formed part of a Last Judgement altarpiece based on St Matthew's gospel, which tells of Christ coming with angels to sit upon the throne of glory. Here, the figures surrounding Christ appear to represent the Souls of the Blessed.

Physical description

The panel is framed by two pillars, one clearly twisted in design, the other not fully visible, each surmounted by a battlemented capital. Above them is a background decorated with leaf-shaped patterns. The crowned and bearded figure of the Risen Christ, wearing a gown and a cloak fastened with a brooch, is enthroned in glory; his right hand is raised and he holds an orb surmounted with a cross in his left hand. He is surrounded by the souls of the blessed, ten of whose heads and shoulders are to be seen. They do not appear to be angels since no wings are shown. They are within a mandorla, the border of which is carved with triangles and rays around the lower edge. The mandorla is placed asymmetrically and comes right to the top edge of the panel, perhaps to give a sense of movement upwards. On the left of the panel stands the bearded figure of St. Matthew, wearing a gown and a cloak, with a halberd in his left hand and a money box in his right.

The top corner of the panel is damaged and the bottom of the panel is missing. The alabaster at the bottom is heavily iron-stained. Only slight traces of paint remain on the panel. This is mainly black in the triangles of the mandorla and beneath the feet of Christ.

A ridge down the middle of the back of the panel marks the place where saw cuts from each side met. There are three lead-plugged holes. There are two sets of marks: three parallel lines and three parallel lines intersected by a single line. The bottom has been cut away.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

3 parallel lines.
On the back of the panel.

3 parallel lines intersected by a single line.
On the back of the panel.

Dimensions

Height: 36.1 cm, Width: 24.7 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr W. L. Hildburgh in Paris. On loan from him since 1930. Given by Dr Hildburgh in 1946.

Descriptive line

Alabaster panel depicting Christ in Majesty with St Matthew. English, 15th century.

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

Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Limited, 1984. p. 295 (cat. 222), ill. ISBN 0-7148-8014-0

Materials

Alabaster; Paint

Techniques

Carving; Painting

Subjects depicted

Capital; Brooch; Columns (architectural elements); Cross; Orb; Cloak; Halberd; Crown; Boxes (containers)

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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