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Plaque with Agnus Dei on a Cross between Emblems of the Four Evangelists

Date:
1000–1050
Geography:
Made in Benevento (perhaps)
Culture:
South Italian
Medium:
Ivory
Dimensions:
Overall: 9 1/4 x 5 3/8 x 3/8 in. (23.5 x 13.7 x 0.9 cm)
Classification:
Ivories
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.38
  • Description

    This exquisite ivory plaque depicts in symbolic form the four writers of the Gospels surrounding the Lamb of God: Matthew by the winged man, Mark by the winged lion, Luke by the winged ox, and John by the eagle. The character of these symbols is based upon the vision of Saint John in the Book of Revelation (4:6-7). Arranged within the quadrants of a foliated cross, the order of the symbols follows a schema whereby the image of the eagle is displayed at the lower right rather than the normal position at the upper right. Originally this plaque would have covered a deluxe binding of a now-lost Gospel book. In many respects the stylization of the symbols and the type of foliate cross find parallels in manuscript illumination produced within the South Italian region of Benevento. Especially, the illumination of manuscripts produced for the famed Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino offers a striking comparison to assist in localizing this ivory.

  • Provenance

    J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
464360

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