This cross conveys the luxury found within churches that dotted the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain during the Middle Ages. It comes from a twelfth-century church fifty miles east of Oviedo, once the capital of the kingdom of Asturias. The cross shows a crowned, crucified Jesus flanked on the cross’ arms by the Virgin Mary and Saint John. An angel appears at the top, as Adam rises from his grave at the bottom. A rock crystal above Jesus’ head covers a cavity that still holds an unidentified relic. Gilded filigree bars attached to each of the arms of the cross served as settings for an array of gems, including antique intaglios. Only two remain—one showing an ancient figure of Victory, and the other a male nude with a fish and spear—both prized embellishments suitable for a sumptuous object. A Latin inscription on the reverse reads: “In honor of the Holy Savior: Sanccia [Sancha] Guidisalvi had me made.” The feminine ending of Sanccia indicates that the donor, or possibly the goldsmith, was a woman.
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Back, Inscription and Terminal with Symbol of St. Matthew
Back, Inscription and Terminal with symbol of St. Luke
Back, Inscription and Terminal with symbol of St. John
Back, Inscription and Terminal with symbol of St. Mark
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Geography:Made in Asturias, Spain
Medium:Silver, partially gilt on wood core, carved gems, jewels
Dimensions:23 1/4 in. × 19 in. × 3 7/16 in. (59.1 × 48.3 × 8.7 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Inscription: (On reverse, in small, gold banners on each of the posts of the cross, read counterclockwise from bottom): [IN HON]ORE : S[AN]C[T]I : SA / LVATORIS : SA / NCCIA GVIDIS / ALVI ME : FECIT (In honor of the Holy Savior, Sanccia Guidisalvi made me)
From the Church of San Salvador de Fuentes, Asturias; possibly, Ernest Guilhou, Paris; [ Arthur Sambon, Paris (sold 1911 or 1912)]; J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (1911/12–1913); Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan(1913–1917)
New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens. "Spanish Medieval Art," December 15, 1954–January 30, 1955.
Breck, Joseph. Catalogue of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance Sculpture. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1913. no. 100, pp. 95–97.
Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1925. p. 62, fig. 38, ill. p. 62.
Ferrandis Torres, José. Marfiles y Azabaches Españoles. Barcelona: Editorial Labor, S.A., 1928. p. 147.
Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 62, fig. 38, ill. p. 62.
Contreras, Juan de Marqués de Lozoya. Historia del arte hispánico. Vol. 1. Barcelona: Salvat Editores, 1931. pp. 336–337, fig. 415.
Hildburgh, Walter L. Dr. Medieval Spanish Enamels and Their Relation to the Origin and the Development of Copper Champlevé Enamels of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. London: Oxford University Press, 1936. p. 84, fig. 33, pl. XVI.
Rorimer, James J. Medieval Jewelry: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. fig. 15.
Spanish Medieval Art: A Loan Exhibition in Honor of Dr. Walter W.S. Cook. New York: Institute of Fine Arts Alumni Association, 1954. no. 6.
Rorimer, James J., and William Holmes Forsyth. "The Medieval Galleries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 12, no. 6 (February 1954). p. 142.
Carrasco Urgoiti, María Soledad. "Una exposición de arte medieval español en Nueva York." Clavileño 6, no. 32 (1955). p. 48.
Thoby, Paul. Le crucifix, des origines au Concile de Trente. Nantes: Bellanger, 1959. no. 156, pp. 107, 250, fig. 156, pl. LXVII.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Guide to the Collections: Medieval Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1962. fig. 29.
Wixom, William D. Treasures from Medieval France. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1967. p. 82.
Beeson, Nora B., ed. Guide to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. no. 30, p. 217, fig. 30.
Manzanares Rodríguez, Joaquín. Las Joyas de la Cámara Santa: Valores Permanentes de Oviedo. Oviedo: Tabularium Artis Asturiensis, 1972. p. 36.
Moralejo Alvarez, Serafín. "Les Arts somptuaries hispaniques aux environs de 1100." Les Cahiers de Saint-Michel de Cuxa 13 (1982). pp. 289–290, 300.
Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 44, pp. 52–53.
Little, Charles T., ed. The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500–1200. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 130, pp. 271–272.
Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 24, p. 381.
Chong, Alan. "Collecting Crosses: Mrs. Gardner and J.P. Morgan." In The Art of the Cross: Medieval and Renaissance Piety in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2001. pp. 21–23.
Luaces, Joaquín Yarza, ed. De Limoges a Silos. Madrid: Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior, 2001. p. 287.
McLachlan, Elizabeth Parker. "Liturgical Vessels and Implements." In The Liturgy of the Medieval Church, edited by Thomas J. Heffernan, and E. Ann Matter. Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University, 2005. pp. 419–421, fig. 17.
Franco Mata, María Angela. "Tesoros de Oviedo y León: Problemas estilísticos, liturgia e iconografía." Boletín del Museo Arqueológico Nacional 27–28 (2009–10). pp. 83–85, fig. 28.
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