Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Plaque with Christ enthroned with two Apostles

Made in northern France
Overall: 5 11/16 x 3 7/16 x 3/16 in. (14.5 x 8.8 x 0.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
These carvings—one showing the Virgin and the Infant Jesus, the other showing Christ flanked by Saints Peter and Paul—reuse ivory plaques that might have once served as furniture mounts. The plaques, originally carved in Egypt one hundred years earlier, depict on their backs a tree flanked by birds and Hercules capturing the Golden Stag of Artemis. The recarving of pagan ivories with Christian subjects, probably to adorn a Gospel book, occurred in a workshop associated with the emperor Charles the Bald (r. 840–77), the grandson of Charlemagne. The reuse of ancient ivory plaques, not unusual in the 800s, was due to the rarity of African elephant ivory in Europe.
J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Breck, Joseph. "Two Carolingian Ivories." American Journal of Archaeology 23, no. 4 (October–December 1919). pp. 394–400, fig. 1, 3.

"Two Carolingian Ivories from the Morgan Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal 6 (1972). pp. 17-57, fig. 1, 3.

Survival of the Gods: Classical Mythology in Medieval Art. Providence, R.I.: Brown University, 1987. no. 14, pp. 52–53.

St. Clair, Archer, and Elizabeth Parker McLachlan, ed. The Carver's Art: Medieval Sculpture in Ivory, Bone, and Horn. New Brunswick, N.J.: Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, 1989. no. 2, pp. 29–31.

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