Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mirror Case

Made in possibly Paris, France
Elephant ivory
Overall: 4 3/8 x 4 1/8 x 7/16 in. (11.1 x 10.4 x 1.1 cm) diameter: 4 in. (10.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of George Blumenthal, 1941
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
Mirror cases, which might be considered forerunners of the modern compact, were primarily destined for the aristocracy, and their subject matter reflects the activities and interests of their owners. Here, a lady and gentleman hunt with falcons, accompanied by attendants. Medieval literature frequently drew a parallel between falconry and courtly love, and the playful imagery of this ivory may be read as a metaphorical hunt for love.
Frédéric Spitzer (d. 1890), Paris (by 1890–until 1893); Oscar Hainauer, Berlin (until d. 1894); by descent to his widow, Julie Hainauer, Berlin (1894–1906); [ Duveen Brothers, London, Paris and New York (in 1906)]; George and Florence Blumenthal, Paris and New York (by 1926-1941)
La Collection Spitzer: Antiquité, Moyen-Age, Renaissance. Vol. I. Mâcon: Imprimerie Protat Frères, 1890–1891. no. Ivoire 69, p. 47.

Spitzer, Frédéric, ed. La Collection Spitzer: Antiquité -- Moyen-Age -- Renaissance. Vol. 1. Paris: Maison Quantin, 1890–1893. no. Ivoire 69, p. 49, pl. XIX.

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. 104, p. 20, pl. IV.

Bode, Wilhelm von. Die Sammlung Oscar Hainauer. Berlin: Druck von W. Büxenstein, 1897. no. 131, pp. 81, 83, ill.

Bode, Wilhelm von, ed. Ausstellung von Kunstwerken des Mittelalters und der Renaissance aus Berliner Privatbesitz veranstaltet von der Kunstgeschichtlichen Gesellschaft. Berlin: G. Grote, 1899. pl. XIV, no. 2.

Bode, Wilhelm von. The Collection of Oscar Hainauer. Reprint (with English trans.) ed. London: Chiswick Press, 1906. no. 131, pp. 81, 83, ill.

Koechlin, Raymond. Les Ivoires Gothiques Français: Volume I, Text. Paris: Editions Auguste Picard, 1924. pp. 384 n. 4, 385, nn. 1, 6.

Koechlin, Raymond. Les Ivoires Gothiques Français: Volume II, Catalogue. Paris: Editions Auguste Picard, 1924. no. 1032, p. 378.

Rubinstein-Bloch, Stella. Catalogue of the Collection of George and Florence Blumenthal, New York: Volume 3, Works of Art, Mediaeval and Renaissance. Paris: A. Lévy, 1926. pl. V.

Seventh Loan Exhibition: French Gothic Art of the Thirteenth to Fifteenth Century. Detroit: The Detroit Institute of Arts, 1928. no. 65, ill.

Arts of the Middle Ages: A Loan Exhibition. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1940. no. 139, p. 45, pl. LIII.

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. 74, pp. 164-165, 258.

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. 104, p. 93.

Levin, William R., ed. Images of Love and Death in Late Medieval and Renaissance Art. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Museum of Art, 1975. no. 69, p. 109, pl. V.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 108, p. 115.

Barnet, Peter, ed. Images In Ivory: Precious Objects of the Gothic Age. Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 1997. no. 60, pp. 235–36.

Sears, Elizabeth. "Ivory and Ivory Workers in Medieval Paris." In Images In Ivory: Precious Objects of the Gothic Age, edited by Peter Barnet. Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 1997. no. 60, p. 24.

Carns, Paula Mae. "Cutting a Fine Figure: Costume on French Gothic Ivories." Medieval Clothing and Textiles 5 (2009). pp. 64 n. 25, 76 n. 67, 90.

"Als ic can": 10 years of masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance: a selection from my current collection. Antwerp: Bernard Descheemaeker, 2010. p. 14, fig. 5b.

Lyon, Christopher. Couples in Art: Artworks from The Metropolitan Museum of Art selected by Colin Eisler in collaboration with Caroline Kelly. Munich, London, New York: Prestel, 2011. pp. 90–91.

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