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Chasse with Christ in Majesty and the Lamb of God

Date:
ca. 1180–90
Geography:
Made in Limoges, France
Culture:
French
Medium:
Champlevé enamel: blue-black; dark, medium, and light blue; turquoise, dark and light green, yellow, red, translucent wine red, and white; wood core, painted red on exterior; copper: engraved, scraped, stippled, and gilt.
Dimensions:
Overall: 8 11/16 x 9 1/4 x 4 3/16 in. (22 x 23.5 x 10.7 cm)
Classification:
Enamels-Champlevé
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.523
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
This chasse served as a container for saints’ relics—often bones or pieces of cloth. The chasse depicts Christ in Majesty surrounded by saints on the lower front and the Lamb of God, emblematic of Jesus, flanked by angels on the sloping roof. Access to the sacred contents was through the locked door on one end. It shows Saint Peter, called by Jesus to be the keeper of the keys of heaven, as the guardian of the box’s holy relics.

Note the wonderfully varied designs of the columns and the saints’ haloes, the exceptional translucent red, the scrolling pattern of the gilded ground, and the blue enamel that defines hair, brows, digits, and sinews. The design of the back simulates a costly silk textile.
Inscription: Inscription: A/w (Alpha/omega, twice, surrounding Christ and the Lamb).
Frédéric Spitzer (d. 1890)(Paris, sold 1893, no.231, pl.VII-3); Georges Hoentschel (French, Paris 1855–1915 Paris)(sold 1911); Jacques SeligmannParis and New York (Paris, January 1912); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York
Darcel, Alfred, and Émile Molinier, ed. Exposition rétrospective de l'art française au Trocadéro. Exposition universelle de 1889. Lille: L. Danel, 1889. no. 472, p. 76.

Rupin, Ernest. L'Oeuvre de Limoges. Paris: Alphonse Picard et Fils, 1890. p. 423.

La Collection Spitzer: Antiquité, Moyen-Age, Renaissance. Vol. I. Mâcon: Imprimerie Protat Frères, 1890–1891. no. Orfèvrerie religieuse 20, p. 94.

Spitzer, Frédéric, ed. La Collection Spitzer: Antiquité -- Moyen-Age -- Renaissance. Vol. 1. Paris: Maison Quantin, 1890–1893. no. Orfèvrerie religieuse 20, p. 103, pl. VIII.

Catalogue des objets d'art et de haute curiosité: antiques, du moyen-âge & de la renaissance: composant l'importante et précieuse Collection Spitzer. Vol. 1. Paris: Chevallier and Mannheim, April 17–June 16, 1893. no. 231, p. 41, pl. VII.

Marquet de Vasselot, Jean-Joseph. "Les émaux limousins à fond vermiculé (XIIe et XIIIe siècles)." Revue Archéologique, 4th ser., 6 (July–December 1905). p. 239.

Marquet de Vasselot, Jean-Joseph. Les émaux limousins à fond vermiculé (XIIe et XIIIe siècles). Paris: E. Leroux, 1906. p. 24.

Pératé, André. Collections Georges Hoentschel: Émaux du XIIe au XVe siècle. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1911. no. 48, fig. XXII.

Rubenstein, Stella. "Some Limoges Reliquaries of the Late Twelfth Century." Arts & Decoration 7 (April 1917). p. 305, ill. p. 304.

Braun, Joseph. Die Reliquiare des christlichen Kultes und ihre Entwicklung. Freiburg im Breisgau: Verlag Herder, 1940. p. 166, pl. 26, fig. 86.

Forsyth, William H. "Mediaeval Enamels in a New Installation." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 4, no. 9 (May 1946). ill. p. 238.

The Life of Christ: A Loan Exhibition of Works of Art Illustrating Episodes in the Life of Christ. Hartford, CT: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 1948. no. 9, p. 12.

Gauthier, Marie-Madeleine. "Une Châsse limousine du dernier quart du XIIe siècle: Thèmes iconographiques composition et essai de chronologie." In Mélanges offerts à René Crozet... à l'occasion de son soixante-dixième anniversaire par ses amis, ses collèques, ses élèves et les membres du C.É.S.C.M., edited by Pierre Gallais, and Yves-Jean Riou. Vol. 2. Poitiers: Société d'études médiévales, 1966. no. C39, p. 951.

Gauthier, Marie-Madeleine. "Le goût Plantagenet." In Stil und Überlieferung in der Kunst des Abendlandes: Volume 1, Epochen europäischer Kunst. International Congress of the History of Art, Vol. 21. Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1967. pp. 151, 153, pl. 17.2.

Ostoia, Vera K. The Middle Ages: Treasures from the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969. no. 53, pp. 118-119, 256-257.

Gauthier, Marie-Madeleine. Émaux Méridionaux: Catalogue International de l'Oeuvre de Limoges; L'Époque Romane. Corpus des émaux méridionaux, Vol. I. Paris: Éditions du centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1987. no. 150, p. 147, pl. CXLI, ill. 514-516; pl. CXLIII, ill. 520.

Pushkin Museum and State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-prikladnoe iskusstvo ot pozdneĭ antichnosti do pozdneĭ gotiki: Iz sobraniĭ muze︠i︡a Metropoliten, Nʹ︠i︡u Ĭork i Khudozhestvennogo Instituta, Chikago. Moscow: Pushkin Museum, 1990. no. 19, p. 10.

State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-prikladnoe iskusstvo ot pozdneĭ antichnosti do pozdneĭ gotiki. St. Petersburg: State Hermitage Museum, 1990. no. 19, pp. 46-47.

Taburet-Delahaye, Elisabeth, and Barbara Drake Boehm, ed. L'Oeuvre de Limoges: Emaux limousins du Moyen Age. Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1995. no. 27, pp. 134-135.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, ed. Enamels of Limoges, 1100-1350. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996. no. 27, pp. 134-135.

Smith, Elizabeth Bradford, ed. Medieval Art in America: Patterns of Collecting, 1800–1940. University Park, Pa.: Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, 1996. p. 64.

Boehm, Barbara Drake. "Le goût des Américains pour l'Œuvre de Limoges aux XIXe et XXe siècles." In L’Œuvre de Limoges et sa diffusion: Trésors, objets, collections, edited by Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, and Frédéric Tixier. Paris: Institut national d'histoire de l'art, 2011. p. 127, fig. 6, pl. X.



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