Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Processional cross

Date:
ca. 1460–80
Culture:
Italian, Florence
Medium:
Partly gilt silver, niello, and copper with traces of gilding, over wood
Dimensions:
H. 21 3/4 x W. 12 3/4 in. (55.2 x 32.4 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Silver
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.499
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 500
Inscriptions on the back of this object indicate that it served as the repository for a relic believed to be a fragment of the True Cross and that it is thought to have been made for a convent of the Poor Clares, probably in Florence. It is an extraordinary example of Florentine Renaissance metalwork, incorporating within its silver-gilt frame a series of twenty silver plaques with nielloed scenes depicting the Passion of Christ and various saints.
Inscription: Above reliquary window: [1] LIGNUM CRUCIS; On base: [2] QUESTA CROC[E] E /DEI[L]E POV /ERE MON /ACHE DI /SANTA CHI /RA [D AVE /RNA ?] (partial trans.: This cross is made for the Poor Sisters of Santa Chiara...); On plaque of The Last Supper: [3] ABL (cypher of Baccio Baldini); On cross on central plaque: INRI
Karl Thewalt (by 1902–1903; Thewalt, Karl sale, Lempertz, Cologne, 1903, no. 985; sold to Julius Campe); Julius Campe (from 1903) ; J. Pierpont Morgan , London and New York (until 1913; to his son, J. P. Morgan Jr.) ; by descent, J. P. Morgan Jr. (1913–17; to MMA)
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