Reliquary of Mary Magdalene, 14th and 15th century
Made in Tuscany, Italy
Gilded copper, gilded silver, rock crystal, verre églomisé; Overall 22 x 9 3/8 x 7 15/16 in. (55.9 x 23.8 x 20.2 cm), roundel 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.504)
While their choir books were richly colored, Franciscan communities frequently chose more somber verre églomisé, a reverse-glass painting technique, for reliquaries. Although the palette of the glass medallion that crowns the reliquary is limited, the overall effect of crystal and gilded metal is sumptuous. The relic, enclosed in rock crystal, is said to be Mary Magdalene's tooth.