Reliquary of Mary Magdalene

Date: 14th and 15th century

Geography: Made in Tuscany, Italy

Culture: North Italian

Medium: Gilded copper, gilded silver, rock crystal, verre églomisé

Dimensions: 22 x 9 3/8 x 7 15/16in. (55.9 x 23.8 x 20.2cm)
Other (roundel): 3 3/8in. (8.6cm)
Other (Rock crystal vessel): 4 5/16 × 2 3/16 × 1 5/8 in. (10.9 × 5.5 × 4.1 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 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.