Plaque thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 9, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Gallery

Plaque

13th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This plaque may have come from a medieval reliquary. The size and iconography of the piece may alternatively indicate that it was part of a gospel cover. Gospel covers traditionally depicted the crucifixion upon the front cover in this period. The engraving upon this plaque is a good example of the Gothic style. The naturalistic rendering of the figures is indicative of Gothic art in the 13th century.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Copper-gilt, engraved
Brief Description
Copper-gilt, engraved with the crucifixion, Mosan, early 13th century
Physical Description
Copper-gilt engraved with the Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdelene. Two half length angels above. Holes around the edge of the object where the plaque would have been pinned.
Dimensions
  • Height: 29.7cm
  • Width: 22.5cm
  • Depth: 0.2cm
  • Weight: 0.46kg
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries 2006
Marks and Inscriptions
'IHC. NAZA / RENUS. REX / IUDEORUM' (Titulus in Lombardic Letters)
Credit line
Dr W.L. Hildburgh Bequest
Object history
Hildburgh Bequest



Historical significance: This plaque is indicative of the Gothic style of the 13th century. The foliate decoration and naturalistic rendering of the figures are particular examples of Gothic Art. It was made in the Meuse region, which produced the majority of high quality bronze and brass objects during this period.
Historical context
This object was considered on acquisition to be the back of a reliquary. The reverse of a reliquary of St Matthias in Trier is engraved in a similar Gothic style to this example. (Rhein und Maas, p.346) The Trier reliquary is also made from similar materials as the V&A plaque; copper- gilt and silver- gilt. The pins around the reliquary are consistent with the holes surrounding this example. The size and iconography of the plaque are also similar to a portable altar attributed to Jaques de Vitry (Hugo D'Oignies, p.268).



The size and iconography of this plaque may indicate however that it was a gospel cover. Book bindings for gospels were often made form expensive materials such as silver or enamel. However, this object, once gilded, would have appeared to be made of gold. The iconography of the plaque reflects the traditional iconography of gospel covers in this period. Bindings depicted the Crucifixion on the upper cover and Christ in majesty on the lower cover. Thin metal covers could be attached to wooden bases for reinforcement.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This plaque may have come from a medieval reliquary. The size and iconography of the piece may alternatively indicate that it was part of a gospel cover. Gospel covers traditionally depicted the crucifixion upon the front cover in this period. The engraving upon this plaque is a good example of the Gothic style. The naturalistic rendering of the figures is indicative of Gothic art in the 13th century.
Bibliographic References
  • Cécile Douxchamps-Lefêvre and André Lambotte, Autor de Hugo D'Oignies, Museé des Arts Anciend du Namurois, 2003, p. 268
  • Rhien und Maas: Kunst und Kultur 800-1400, Koln, 1972, p.346
Collection
Accession Number
M.303-1956

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record createdOctober 19, 2006
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