Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Rosary Terminal Bead with Lovers and Death's Head

Date:
ca. 1500–1525
Geography:
Made in North France or South Netherlands
Culture:
North French or South Netherlandish
Medium:
Ivory, with emerald pendant, silver-gilt mount
Dimensions:
Overall: 5 3/8 x 1 9/16 x 1 11/16 in. (13.6 x 4 x 4.3 cm) ivory only: 2 13/16 x 1 9/16 x 1 11/16 in. (7.2 x 4 x 4.3 cm)
Classification:
Ivories
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.305
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
A string of beads is used as a memory aid in the recitation of the rosary, a multipart devotion to the Virgin. Here, the striking terminal bead announces the constant proximity of death by joining a skull to the pair of vivacious lovers. Such an image is known as a memento mori (reminder of death), as it encourages one to reflect on the transience of life.
J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Weber, Frederick Parkes. Aspects of Death and Correlated Aspects of Life in Art, Epigram, and Poetry: Contributions Towards an Anthology and an Iconography of the Subject. 3rd ed. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, 1918. pp. 716–17.

Europe in Torment, 1450–1550. Providence: Brown University, 1974. no. 41.2, pp. 108–09.

Husband, Timothy B., and Jane Hayward, ed. The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. no. 254, p. 259.

"Selected Recent Acquisitions." Bulletin of The Detroit Institute of Arts 66, no. 4 (1991). p. 50.

Barnet, Peter, ed. Images In Ivory: Precious Objects of the Gothic Age. Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 1997. no. 79, p. 278.

Lipton, Sara. "Images and Their Uses." In The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 4, Christianity in Western Europe, c.1100–c.1500, edited by Miri Rubin, and Walter Simons. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. p. 279, fig. 17.6.



Related Objects

Rosary Bead with the Crucifixion and Resurrection

Date: ca. 1500–1525 Medium: Ivory, polychromy, silver-gilt mount Accession: 17.190.304 On view in:Gallery 626

Rosary

Date: ca. 1500–1525 Medium: Ivory, silver, and partially gilded mounts Accession: 17.190.306 On view in:Gallery 306

Rosary Terminal Bead with the Virgin and Child, Saint Barbara, and Saint Catherine

Date: 15th century Medium: Ivory Accession: 14.25.1250 On view in:Gallery 306

Pendant Medallion with the Last Judgment

Date: ca. 1420 Medium: Ivory, paint, and silver-gilt mount Accession: 17.190.894 On view in:Gallery 306

Two Medallions

Date: ca. 1420 Medium: Ivory, polychromy & gilding, (later mount: gilt silver and glass) Accession: 17.190.877a-c On view in:Gallery 306