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Scenes from the Passion of Christ

  • Object:

    Diptych

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1280-1310 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Elephant ivory carved in high relief

  • Museum number:

    367&A-1871

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is an ivory diptych made in about 1280-1310 in Paris, France. This diptych depicts twelve scenes from the Passion in three tiers separated by bands of rosettes. The scenes begin at the bottom left-hand corner and are treated picturequely rather than dramatically.1. Judas receiving the thirty pieces of silver. 2. The Betrayal. 3. Judas hangs himself. 4. The cutting off of Malchus' ear. 5. Pilate washes his hands. 6. Christ carrying his cross. 7. The Crucifixion. 8. The Deposition. 9. The Entombment. 10. The Maries at the Sepulchre. 11. Christ meeting St. Mary Magdalene in the Garden. 12. The Harrowing of Hell.
The devotional diptych is in many ways the object type most associated with the notion of Gothic ivory carving. The earliest examples probably date to the 1240s; these are complex, large and ambitious works that emerged, somewhat surprisingly, with no obvious precursors. The owners of ivory diptychs sometimes appear within their images. Such portraits indicate that they were special requests on the part of their commissioners, and they parallel the similar figures that appear in manuscripts and panel paintings of the period. The iconography of Gothic diptychs oscillated between two poles. The first of which is the desire to present narratives (Life of Christ and Virgin Mary) for envisaging. The second was the use of non-narrative images to form the focus of devotion.

Physical description

Ivory diptych with twelve scenes from the Passion in three tiers separated by bands of rosettes. The scenes begin at the bottom left-hand corner and are treated picturequely rather than dramatically.1. Judas receiving the thirty pieces of silver. 2. The Betrayal. 3. Judas hangs himself. 4. The cutting off of Malchus' ear. 5. Pilate washes his hands. 6. Christ carrying his cross. 7. The Crucifixion. 8. The Deposition. 9. The Entombment. 10. The Maries at the Sepulchre. 11. Christ meeting St. Mary Magdalene in the Garden. 12. The Harrowing of Hell.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

ca. 1280-1310 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Elephant ivory carved in high relief

Dimensions

Height: 21 cm, Width: 25.8 cm open

Object history note

In the possession of John Webb, London, by 1867 and on loan to the Museum from that date; purchased from Webb in 1871, for £200.

Descriptive line

Diptych, ivory, scenes from the Passion, French (Paris), ca. 1280-1310

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

List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington, Acquired During the Year 1870, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., p. 30
Longhurst, Margaret H., Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 16
pp. 130-131
Maskell, W. A Description of the Ivories Ancient and Medieval in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1872
pp. 158-159, and pl. XXIX
Maskell, A., Ivories, London, 1905
I, p. 152, II, cat. no. 247
Koechlin, R., Les Ivoires gothiques français, 3 vols, Paris, 1924 (reprinted Paris 1968)
part 1, pp. 230-231
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014
p. 210
Randall, R.H., Jr., Masterpieces of Ivory from the Walters Art Gallery, London, 1985
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014, part 1, pp. 230-231, cat. no. 72

Production Note

Possibly Paris School.

Materials

Ivory

Techniques

High relief

Categories

Christianity; Religion; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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