Triptych

Date: 1500–1525

Geography: Made in South Lowlands

Culture: South Netherlandish

Medium: Boxwood

Dimensions: Overall (open): 5 7/8 x 3 x 1 1/4 in. (15 x 7.6 x 3.2 cm)
Overall (closed): 5 7/8 x 2 5/16 x 1 1/4 in. (15 x 5.9 x 3.2 cm)
cabinet: 3 7/16 x 3 x 9/16 in. (8.8 x 7.6 x 1.4 cm)
wings: 2 7/8 x 13/16 x 1/8 in. (7.3 x 2 x 0.3 cm)
Base: 2 5/16 x 2 1/2 x 1 1/4 in. (5.9 x 6.3 x 3.2 cm)

Classification: Woodwork

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.453

Description

The vogue for microcarving in the late Middle Ages exploited the fine grain of boxwood to the ultimate degree. The technique was often employed in the creation of sumptuous devotional objects, such as elaborate rosary beads; this standing miniature triptych altarpiece is a rarer example of the genre. The artist has shown the Crucifixion (above) and the Resurrection (below) flanked by folding wings, each carved with Old Testament scenes prefiguring the life of Christ. (Upper left: Sacrifice of Abraham; upper right: Moses and the Brazen Serpent. Lower left: Samson Carrying the Doors of Gaza; lower right: Jonah and the Whale.)

Related