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Dish with Abraham and Melchizedek

Artist:
Hans of Landshut (German, Landshut, active late 15th century)
Date:
1498
Culture:
South German
Medium:
Free-blown glass with paint and metallic foils
Dimensions:
Overall: 14 1/2 x 1 5/8 in. (36.9 x 4.2 cm)
Classification:
Glass-Miscellany
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 2008
Accession Number:
2008.278
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 16
At the center of this complex scene, the patriarch Abraham, fresh from victorious battle, meets the king and high priest Melchizedek, who at once gives him bread and wine, blesses him, and takes a tenth of Abraham’s loot. Because Melchizedek is dressed as a bishop and his offering takes the form of a Christian chalice and paten, the plate for the bread consecrated at the Mass, the scene was interpreted as an exemplum of sacrifice and redemption, foreshadowing Jesus’ death on the cross for the salvation of mankind. This suggests that the glass dish served as a paten. At the top of each lantern flanking the openwork frame is a lion holding a staff with a pennant and supporting a shield; the one on the left bears the arms of the city of Freising, and the one on the right those of its Bishopric. However, it is Landshut, a town in southern Germany, that is represented in the background. A document in the archives of Freising cathedral states that a glass dish was painted by a Hans of Landshut. The S-shaped banderole at the base of the left column is inscribed "1[4]" and its counterpart on the right "9 8," indicating the date of 1498. The complex application of pigments, colored glazes, and metallic foils to the outside of the glass vessel—in the reverse order of panel painting—is unprecedented at this early date.
From the Bishopric of Freising, Germany (Bishopric secularized in 1803); Princes of Oettingen-Wallerstein(from 1803 - 2008)
Kuhn, Joseph Alois. Katalog der Kunst- und Kunstindustrie-Ausstellung alter und neuer deutscher Meister sowie der deutschen Kunstschulen im Glaspalaste zu München 1876: Volume 2, Katalog für die Ausstellung der Werke älterer Meister. Munich: C. Wolf & Sohn, 1876. no. 1745, p. 220.

Barnet, Peter. "Recent Acquisitions (1999-2008) of Medieval Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters, New York: Supplement." The Burlington Magazine 150, no. 1268 (November 2008). p. 799, fig. XX.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2008-2010." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 67, no. 2 (Fall 2010). p. 20.

Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. 75th Anniversary ed. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 163.

Husband, Timothy B. "A Reverse-Painted Glass 'Paten' at The Cloisters: Imagery and Style." Journal of Glass Studies 56 (2014). pp. 107-115, fig. 1, 5.

Krueger, Ingeborg. "A Reverse-Painted Glass 'Paten' at The Cloisters: A Case of 'Islam Christianized'?." Journal of Glass Studies 56 (2014). pp. 117-23, fig. 1-2.



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