Plaque

Date: second quarter 13th century

Geography: Made in Limoges, France

Culture: French

Medium: Champlevé enamel, copper

Dimensions: Overall: 5 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 1/16 in. (13.4 x 13.4 x 0.2 cm)

Classification: Enamels-Champlevé

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.811

Description

The medieval metalworker's craft was often closely allied to the draftsman's art, a relationship that was particularly strong in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In this work, calligraphic metal surfaces float against colorful enameled backgrounds, much as drawing and painting interact in manuscripts. A sketch of a head on the reverse of this piece suggests that artists worked out compositions in a graphic mode before attempting completed designs.

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