Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Rosary

Date:
ca. 1500–1525
Culture:
German
Medium:
Ivory, silver, and partially gilded mounts
Dimensions:
Overall: 24 11/16 x 2 1/8 x 1 3/4 in. (62.7 x 5.4 x 4.5 cm)
Top Terminal: 1 5/8 x 1 5/16 x 1 1/2 in. (4.2 x 3.4 x 3.8 cm)
2nd bead: 2 1/16 x 1 11/16 x 1 in. (5.2 x 4.3 x 2.6 cm)
3rd bead: 2 3/16 x 1 7/8 x 11/16 in. (5.6 x 4.7 x 1.7 cm)
4th bead: 2 5/16 x 1 15/16 x 1 in. (5.8 x 4.9 x 2.6 cm)
5th bead: 2 9/16 x 2 x 1 1/16 in. (6.5 x 5.1 x 2.7 cm)
6th bead: 2 1/2 x 1 13/16 x 7/8 in. (6.3 x 4.6 x 2.2 cm)
7th bead: 2 3/4 x 2 1/8 x 1 in. (7 x 5.4 x 2.5 cm)
Bottom Terminal: 2 1/16 x 1 7/16 x 1 15/16 in. (5.2 x 3.6 x 5 cm)
Classification:
Ivories
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.306
Not on view
Rendered in virtuoso detail, these rosary beads juxtapose images of life and death. The inscriptions on two beads of the ivory chain combine to say, "Remember death/This is what you will be." The boxwood bead opens to reveal Death appearing unannounced at a meal beneath an image of the Last Judgment in the upper hemisphere. The Latin inscription reads, "Stay awake, for you do not know at which hour your Lord will come" (Matthew 24:42).
Inscription: COGITA MORI (on one bead)
SVE.VOT.ERIS (on second bead from bottom)
Laurentine Françoise Bernage Lelong ; [Lelong sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris (December 8–10, 1902, no. 68)]; [ Charles Davies, London (sold 1903)]; J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (1903–1913); Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan(1913–1917)
Brooklyn. Brooklyn Museum. "Out of the East," April 3, 1950–June 6, 1950.

New York. Rubin Museum of Art. "Remember That You Will Die: Death Across Cultures," March 19, 2009–August 9, 2010.

New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Treasures and Talismans: Rings from the Griffin Collection," May 1–October 18, 2015.

Brunswick, Me. Bowdoin College Museum of Art. "The Ivory Mirror: The Art of Mortality in Renaissance Europe," June 24–November 26, 2017.

Catalogue des objets d'art et de haute curiosité de l'antiquité [...] dépendant des collections de Mme. C. Lelong. Paris: Galerie Georges Petit, December 8–10, 1902. no. 68, p. 27, ill. p. 26.

"La Saison de l'Hotel Drouot." L'Art: Revue Mensuelle Illustrée 61 (1902). p. 708, ill.

Weber, Frederick Parkes. Aspects of Death and Correlated Aspects of Life in Art, Epigram, and Poetry: Contributions Towards an Anthology and an Iconography of the Subject. 3rd ed. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, 1918. pp. 714–15.

Europe in Torment, 1450–1550. Providence: Brown University, 1974. no. 47, pp. 118–19.

Levin, William R., ed. Images of Love and Death in Late Medieval and Renaissance Art. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Museum of Art, 1975. no. 83, p. 117, pl. LXIII.

Lowden, John, and John Cherry. Medieval Ivories and Works of Art: The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario Catalogue. Ontario: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2008. p. 132.

Williamson, Paul, and Glyn Davies. Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200–1550. Vol. 1. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2014. p. 474.

Scholten, Frits. "Scale, Prayer and Play." In Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries, edited by Frits Scholten. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. pp. 200–201, fig. 102.

Perkinson, Stephen. The Ivory Mirror : The Art of Mortality in Renaissance Europe. Brunswick, Maine: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 2017. pp. 50–52, fig. 15a, 15b, pl. 26, ill. p. 2.

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