Plaque with the Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew
- ca. 1160–80
- Made in England
- Champlevé enamel on gilded copper
- 3 7/16 × 4 15/16 × 1/8 in. (8.7 × 12.5 × 0.3 cm)
- Credit Line:
- The Cloisters Collection, 2013
- Accession Number:
This rare and highly important plaque epitomizes a key moment in the history of medieval art, when goldsmiths—who had traditionally used enamels only as a substitute for colored gems—realized the full potential of the technique as a narrative art form.
The theatrical nature of the Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew comes to life through the use of rich color, sure engraving, dramatic gestures and intense gazes. The artist represents compelling details as Jesus, standing at the edge of the Sea of Galilee, calls the brothers to be “fishers of men”: Peter gathers up his robe to keep it dry as he steps from the boat, while Andrew pushes with an oar against the waves.
The acquisition of this Romanesque enamel significantly enriches The Cloisters Treasury, adding a rare example, attributed to England, to the Limoges and Mosan masterpieces already in the collection. Part of a larger ensemble focused on the lives of Saints Peter and Paul, its original context and the circumstances that allowed it and seven other plaques to be preserved are unknown.