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Cover of a Censer

Godefridus

Date:
mid-12th century
Geography:
Made in Meuse valley
Culture:
German
Medium:
Copper alloy, cast, engraved, chased, punched, and gilded
Dimensions:
Overall: 4 1/8 x 4 1/8 in. (10.5 x 10.5 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Copper alloy
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.285
  • Description

    The artist who produced this censer proudly inscribed his name, "Godefridus," over one of the arches. The censer bears witness to the technical, artistic, and symbolic sophistication lavished on objects, regardless of size, produced for the service of the medieval church. The architectural form may symbolize the heavenly city of Jerusalem, while the lunettes circling the base depict Old Testament events thought to foretell Christ's sacrifice. Such complicated imagery was standard in art produced in the Valley of the Meuse, an area now part of modern Belgium, in the 12th century.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Above, on the arch: GODEFRIDVS FECIT TVRIBVLVN
    Godfredus has made the turibulum (censer)

    Scene 1. ABEL OFFERT AGNV[M]
    Abel offers a lamb (Genesis 4:4)

    Scene 2. IOSVE ET CALEP FER[VN]T BONTR[VM]
    Joshua and Caleb carry the grapes (Numbers 13:23)

    Scene 3. [MO]YSES EXALTAT SERPENTE[M]
    Moses exalts the serpent (Numbers 21:9)

    Scene 4. MELCHISEDEC PANEM
    Melchizedek [carries] the bread and wine (Genesis 14:18; Epistles to Hebrew 7:1-4)

  • Provenance

    Private Collection , Paris ; [ Sotheby's, London (July 12, 1979, no. 29)]

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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