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Paten with Abraham and Melchizedek

Hans Wertinger (German, Landschut ca. 1465–1533 Landshut)

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
  • Description

    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 spoils. Because Melchizedek is dressed as a bishop and his offering takes the form of a chalice and paten, the scene was interpreted as an exemplum of sacrifice and redemption, foreshadowing Jesus's death on the cross for the salvation of mankind. This suggests that the glass dish served as a paten, or plate for the bread consecrated in Holy Communion. At the top of each lantern that flanks the openwork frame is a lion holding a staff with a pennant and supporting a heraldic shield: the one on the left bears the arms of the city of Freising and the one on the right those of its Bishopric. 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. On a the basis of style, the painting is attributed to Hans Wertinger of Landshut, a town in southern Germany, which is, in fact, represented in the background. The complex technique of applying-in the reverse order of panel painting-pigments, colored glazes, and metallic foils to the outside of a glass vessel is unprecedented at this early date.

  • Provenance

    From the Bishopric of Freising, Germany (Bishopric secularized in 1803); Princes of Oettingen-Wallerstein (from 1803 - 2008)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
478211:8

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