Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Reliquary Bust of Saint Juliana

Circle of Giovanni di Bartolo (Italian, active 1364–1404)
ca. 1376
Copper, gilding, gesso, and tempera paint
Overall: 11 1/16 x 9 x 8 3/8 in. (28.1 x 22.9 x 21.3 cm)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1961
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
In 1376, the skull of Saint Juliana, the gift of the brothers of San Domenico to the Perugian convent dedicated to the saint, was carried in procession and received by Abbess Gabriella. This beguiling image cradled the relic and was placed in an elaborate tabernacle, where it remained until its sale in the late nineteenth century. The band along the lower edge of the bust is inscribed, on the front: [C]APUD SANTE IULIANE [head of Saint Juliana] and, on the back: ROMA. A. D[OMINO]. GUILLE[LMO] [Rome, year of Our Lord, William]. The engraving is not very accomplished, and the mention of a "William," arguably a patron, remains unexplained.
Inscription: (on copper gilt ribbon on front of base): [C]APUD. SANTE. IULIANE; (trans.: Head of St. Juliana)

(on copper gilt ribbon on back of base): ROMA. A. D[OMNO]. GUILLE[LMO]; (trans.: Rome, year of Our Lord, William).
[ Brimo de Laroussilhe, Paris (sold 1961)]
Hoving, Thomas. "The Face of St. Juliana : The Transformation of a Fourteenth Century Reliquary." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 21, no. 5 (January 1963). pp. 174, 176-177, 180, fig. 1, 4, 6, 8.

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. 81, pp. 176-7, 259.

Legner, Anton, ed. Die Parler und der schöne Stil, 1350-1400: Europäische Kunst unter den Luxemburgern. Vol. 1. Cologne: Museen der Stadt Köln, 1978. p. 33.

Wixom, William D. "Medieval Sculpture at The Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 46, no. 3 (Winter 1988-1989). p. 40.

Reinburg, Virginia. "Remembering the Saints." In Memory and the Middle Ages, edited by Nancy Netzer, and Virginia Reinburg. Chestnut Hill, Mass.: Boston College Museum of Art, 1995. pp. 25–26, fig. 11.

Boehm, Barbara Drake. "Body-Part Reliquaries: The State of Research." Gesta 36, no. 1 (1997). pp. 10-11, fig. 3.

Little, Charles T., ed. Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture. New York, New Haven, and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. no. 73, pp. 180-182.

Seidel, Max, ed. Da Jacopo della Quercia a Donatello: Le arti a Siena nel primo Rinascimento. Milano: Federico Motta Editore, 2010. no. F.4.a, pp. 424,436-439.

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