Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Reliquary of Mary Magdalene

14th and 15th century
Made in Tuscany, Italy
North Italian
Gilded copper, gilded silver, rock crystal, verre églomisé
22 x 9 3/8 x 7 15/16in. (55.9 x 23.8 x 20.2cm) Other (roundel): 3 3/8in. (8.6cm) Other (Rock crystal vessel): 4 5/16 × 2 3/16 × 1 5/8 in. (10.9 × 5.5 × 4.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
Reliquary of Mary Magdalene, 14th and 15th century
Made in Tuscany, Italy
Gilded copper, gilded silver, rock crystal, verre églomisé; Overall 22 x 9 3/8 x 7 15/16 in. (55.9 x 23.8 x 20.2 cm), roundel 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.504)

While their choir books were richly colored, Franciscan communities frequently chose more somber verre églomisé, a reverse-glass painting technique, for reliquaries. Although the palette of the glass medallion that crowns the reliquary is limited, the overall effect of crystal and gilded metal is sumptuous. The relic, enclosed in rock crystal, is said to be Mary Magdalene's tooth.
J. C. Robinson, England; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2 ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 128.

Murray, Maria D. "Reverse-painted and Gilded Glass Through the Ages." The Connoisseur 180 (July 1972). pp. 204-5, fig. 3a-c.

Wixom, William D. "Eleven Additions to the Medieval Collection." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 66, no. 3 (March-April 1979). pp. 142, 151.

Hayward, Jane. Glass in the Collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1982). pp. 14–15, fig. 9.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 116, pp. 124-125.

Gaeta Bertelà, Giovanna, and Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi, ed. Arti del Medio Evo e del Rinascimento: Omaggio ai Carrand, 1889–1989. Florence: Museo Nazionale del Bargello, 1989. p. 396.

Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 38, p. 387.

van Os, Henk. The Way to Heaven: Relic Veneration in the Middle Ages. Baarn, the Netherlands: De Prom, 2000. pp. 152-155.

Strouse, Jean. "J. Pierpont Morgan, Financier and Collector." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 57, no. 3 (Winter 2000). pp. 14-15, fig. 13, 14.

Carboni, Stefano, and Timothy B. Husband. "Ars Vitraria: Glass in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Medieval Art and the Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 59, no. 1 (Summer 2001). p. 36.

Neff, Amy. "Christianity." In Sacred Beauty: A Millennium of Religious Art, 600-1600. Knoxville: Frank H. McClung Museum, University of Tennessee, 2007. pp. 13-15.

Bagnoli, Martina, Holger A. Klein, C. Griffith Mann, and James Robinson, ed. Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe. Cleveland, Baltimore, and London: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2010. no. 110, pp. 196–197.

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