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The Entombment of Christ

ca. 1390–1405
Made in Paris, France
Opaque and translucent enamel on gold
Overall: 3 7/16 x 3 1/16 x 3/16 in. (8.7 x 7.7 x 0.5 cm)
Enamels-Ronde Bosse
Credit Line:
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The entombment of Christ after the Crucifixion is variously described in the Four Gospels. Each of the accounts notes the presence of a wealthy man at the scene, Joseph of Arimathea; with him, according to Matthew and Mark, were Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James. However, only the Gospel of Saint John refers to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, as being in attendance. None of the Gospels describes the crowd of mourners gathered at the bier, as seen here, but the depiction of such a group is typical in French art of the Gothic period.

    About 1400, the technique of enameling en ronde-bosse, which was used for this plaque, became a hallmark of goldsmiths' work for the French royal court. Jewel-like in its effect, it combines luminous color-as well as, here, the mottled gray of the sarcophagus and the floral patterning on the Virgin's gown-with finely detailed goldwork, as seen in the precisely detailed physiognomies and the scroll pattern stippled on the gold ground.

  • Provenance

    David Black & Sons ; Rosenberg & Stiebel ; Jack and Belle Linsky, New York (until 1982)

  • See also