Among the most splendid objects in the great churches of Cologne are large architectural shrines containing relics associated with local saints. These ambitious goldsmiths’ works are among the greatest artistic achievements of their time. Refined decorative fragments like the small rectangular plaques shown here are often all that remain of these monumental objects, as many were dismantled or even destroyed following the secularization of church property in this region in the first decade of the nineteenth century. During later efforts to restore shrines, some fragments were replaced and the originals sold to collectors and museums.
J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Hoffmann, Konrad, ed. The Year 1200: A Centennial Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970. no. 189, p. 183.
Kötzsche, Dietrich. "Zum Stand der Forschung der Goldschmiedekunst des 12. Jahrhunderts im Rhein-Maas-Gebiet." In Rhein und Maas: Kunst und Kultur 800–1400. Volume 2, Berichte, Beiträge und Forschungen zum Themenkreis der Ausstellung und des Katalogs, edited by Anton Legner. Cologne: Museum Schnütgen, 1973. p. 221.
Swarzenski, Hanns, and Nancy Netzer. Enamels & Glass: Catalogue of Medieval Objects. Catalogue of Medieval Objects in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1986. p. 64.