Reliquary Cross with Christ Crucified and the Virgin and Child
Copper alloy, niello
Overall: 3 3/4 x 1 5/8 x 1/2 in. (9.5 x 4.1 x 1.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1926
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 303
This cross represents a more refined example of the reliquary crosses common during the middle Byzantine period. The image of the crucified Christ is similar to the one on the reverse of the cross reliquary lid in this case. He wears a colobium (sleeveless or short-sleeve tunic) with two clavi (bands), and his feet are supported by a large footrest (suppedaneum), while his death can be inferred from the slight angle of his head to the left. On the reverse is the Virgin. In front of her body is a medallion with the Christ Child, an image type that stresses Christ’s divinity.
Inscription: Inscribed in Greek: (on front) [initials for] Jesus [Christ]; (on back) [initials for] Mother of God
Andronicos, Constantinople (sold 1925); [ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (1925–1926)]
Hahn, Cynthia, ed. Objects of Devotion and Desire: Medieval Relic to Contemporary Art. New York: Hunter College Art Galleries, 2011. no. 11, pp. 14, 34, 48-49, 56-57.