Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Eucharistic Dove

ca. 1215–35
Made in Limoges, France
Copper: formed, engraved, chiseled, scraped, stippled, and gilt; champlevé enamel: dark and medium blue, red, yellow, turquoise, medium green and white; blue-black glass inset eyes.
Overall: 7 1/2 x 7 13/16 x 2 13/16 in. (19 x 19.8 x 7.2 cm) with modern mount: 7 9/16 x 9 3/8 x 6 15/16 in. (19.2 x 23.8 x 17.7 cm) diameter of enameled inner circular base: 3 3/8 in. (8.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
Rich with gilding, its overall surface engraved and enameled in a pattern that suggests layers of feathers, this dove would have hung over an altar as an evocation of the Holy Spirit. A tear-shaped door on its back conceals a small cavity once used to hold the bread of the Eucharist. Though many textual sources mention gold and silver doves, suggesting these materials were part of the standard liturgical furnishings for churches and communities that could afford them, few examples survive. On the other hand, doves of Limoges work fashioned from copper and enameled in brilliant colors exist in large numbers.
Inscription: Inscription: IH[ESU]S.
Aimé Desmottes, Paris (until 1900); his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris (March 19-23, 1900, no. 5); Georges Hoentschel (French, Paris 1855–1915 Paris)(by 1911); [ Jacques Seligmann, Paris and New York (January 1912)]; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York; Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan(1913–1917)
Paris. Musée du Louvre. "L'Oeuvre de Limoges," October 23, 1995–January 22, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Enamels of Limoges, 1100-1350," January 22, 1996–June 16, 1996.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, Sky. Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013.

Beijing. National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, Sky. Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 8, 2013–May 9, 2013.

Catalogue des objets d'art et de haute curiosité [...] collection de Feu M. Desmottes. Paris: Hôtel Drouot, March 19-23, 1900. no. 5, p. 8, (ill. pl. opp. p. 8).

Pératé, André. Collections Georges Hoentschel: Émaux du XIIe au XVe siècle. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1911. no. 67, fig. XLI.

"J. P. Morgan to Bring Hoentschel Treasures Here." The New York Times (February 11, 1912). p. 13, ill.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1925. p. 105.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 105.

Forsyth, William H. "Mediaeval Enamels in a New Installation." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 4, no. 9 (May 1946). ill. p. 237.

Frazer, Margaret English. "Medieval Church Treasuries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 43, no. 3 (Winter 1985-1986). p. 12, fig. 5.

Gauthier, Marie-Madeleine. Émaux Méridionaux: Catalogue International de l'Oeuvre de Limoges; L'apogée 1190-1215. Corpus des émaux méridionaux, Vol. II. Paris: Éditions du centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1987 [2011]. no. III C no. 12, pp. 164-165.

Taburet-Delahaye, Elisabeth, and Barbara Drake Boehm, ed. L'Oeuvre de Limoges: Emaux limousins du Moyen Age. Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1995. no. 106, pp. 318-319.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, ed. Enamels of Limoges, 1100-1350. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996. no. 105, pp. 318–19.

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. 398-399, fig. 6.

Barnet, Peter, and Atsuyuki Nakahara, ed. Earth, Sea, Sky: Nature in Western Art – Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tokyo: Yomiuri Shimbun, 2012. no. 57, pp. 109, 230.

Drinkwater, Hollie. "Material in Context: The Amber Head of Christ of the Wallace Collection Pax." Journal of the British Archaeological Association 169, no. 1 (2016). pp. 97, 108, fig. 10.

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