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Plaque with Saint Aemilian

Master Engelram and his son Redolfo (Spanish, active Longroño, 1060–1090/5)

Date:
1060–80
Geography:
Made in Castile-León, Spain
Culture:
Spanish
Medium:
Ivory, with glass inlay
Dimensions:
Overall: 8 1/8 x 3 x 1/4 in. (20.6 x 7.6 x 0.7 cm)
Classification:
Ivories
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.89
  • Description

    The relics of the sixth-century Spanish saint Aemilian were housed in an ornate shrine crafted of ivory, gold, and gems. We are remarkably well informed about the reliquary, which was made on the occasion of the translation (or transport) of the saint's relics from the monastery of Suso to the church of San Millán de la Cogolla, dedicated in 1067. Although the reliquary was damaged during the Napoleonic invasion of Spain in 1809, we know from a 1601 description that The Cloisters' plaque decorated the roof of the shrine. On it we see the saint tending his sheep in the bottom register, while above he receives a blessing from the hand of God at the top of a mountain.

    In addition to this plaque, several other ivories from the shrine survive in European and American collections. One, in the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, depicts the ivory carver and his assistant in the workshop and bears an inscription that identifies them as Master Engelram and his son Redolfo. Such images of artists were rare in this period, as was the practice of identifying artists by name.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: The bottom arch is inscribed: FUTURIS PASTOR HOMIN[U]M ERAT P[A]ST[OR] OVIUM; translation: the future shepherd of men was the keeper of sheep. UBI AEREMUM EXPETIT MONTIS DIRCECII; translation: where he sought the wilderness of Mt. Disterii.

  • Provenance

    From the monastery church of San Millán de la Cogolla, near Logroño; Jules Lowengard , Paris ; Duvale , Paris ; Jacques Heugel Paris, 1890–1979 ; [ Cyril Humphris , Geneva (sold 1987)]

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
469906

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