Prayer Bead with the Crucifixion and Jesus before Pilate, Boxwood, Netherlandish

Prayer Bead with the Crucifixion and Jesus before Pilate

Date:
early 16th century
Culture:
Netherlandish
Medium:
Boxwood
Dimensions:
Open: 4 7/8 × 3 3/4 × 1 1/4 in. (12.4 × 9.6 × 3.2 cm)
Closed: 2 1/2 × 2 3/8 × 2 3/16 in. (6.4 × 6.1 × 5.6 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Miniature-Wood
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.474a
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
This carving of exquisite complexity was surely intended for prayer during Holy Week, when the full drama of the final days of Jesus’ life are traced. In the lower half of the bead, Pontius Pilate washes his hands of responsibility for the fate of Jesus. In a master stroke, the carver has made the stream of water stand free of the background. As if to remind us to look carefully, he shows a figure near the front poring over a text with the aid of magnifying glasses. Is the artist also hinting that magnification facilitated his own work? The carving warrants a careful look, for at the back Jesus is led away and then flogged.
Inscription: Around exterior of upper half: ATTENDITE ET VIDETE SI EST DOLOR SICVT DOLOR [meus]
(Attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow [Lamentations 1:12])
Around exterior of lower half: LEVEMVS CORDA NOSTRA CVM MANIBVS AD D[omi]N[u]M IN C[o]E[los]
(Let us raise our hearts together with our hands to the Lord in heaven [Lamentations 3:41]).
Around border of interior of upper half: O CRVX AVE SPE[s] VN[ica] HOC PASSIONIS TEMPORE AVGE PIIS IVSTICIAM REIS
(Hail to the Cross, our only hope. Now in this mournful Passion time, add your unwavering justice [from Venantius Fortunatus, ‘Vexilla regis’, Good Friday hymn]).
Around border of interior of lower half: Nos pilatvs cond[e]mpnamus ihvm flagellandum i[n] monte calvario crvcifigi et in altv[m] elevari
(We Pilate condemn Jesus to be beaten and crucified on Mount Calvary and raised high [source unknown]).
Private Collection, Cordova; Dealer, London; Baron Albert Oppenheim, Cologne(sold 1906); J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (1906–1917)
Kunsthistorische Ausstellung, Düsseldorf 1902: Illustrirter Katalog. Düsseldorf: August-Bagel-Verlag, 1902. no. 1198, p. 106.

Molinier, Émile. Collection du Baron Albert Oppenheim: Tableaux et objets d'art, catalogue précédé d'une introduction. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1904. no. 94, p. 41, pl. LXII.

Williamson, George Charles. Catalogue of the Collections of Jewels and Precious Works of Art: The Property of J. Pierpont Morgan. Deluxe ed. London: Chiswick Press, 1910. no. 40, pp. 63, 64–65, pl. XXIV, color pl. 17.

Dingelstedt, Kurt. "Betnuß." Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte 2 (1948). pp. 377–78.

The Life of Christ: A Loan Exhibition of Works of Art Illustrating Episodes in the Life of Christ. Hartford, CT: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 1948. no. 190, p. 33.

Romanelli, Susan J. "South Netherlandish Boxwood Devotional Sculpture 1475–1530." PhD diss., Columbia University, 1992. no. 20, pp. 262–65, 42–43, 57, 62, 140, fig. 31–34.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Alexandra Suda. "The Material." In Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, edited by Lisa Ellis, and Alexandra Suda. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2016. p. 16.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Alexandra Suda. "Devotion." In Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, edited by Lisa Ellis, and Alexandra Suda. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2016. p. 96.

Dandridge, Pete, and Lisa Ellis. "Making." In Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, edited by Lisa Ellis, and Alexandra Suda. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2016. pp. 26, 27.

Dandridge, Pete, and Lisa Ellis. "Workshop Practices." In Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries, edited by Frits Scholten. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. pp. 521, 550–51, 558–59, 568–69, fig. 248, 258–59, 264.

Falkenburg, Reindert. "Prayer Nuts Seen Through the 'Eyes of the Heart'." In Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries, edited by Frits Scholten. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. pp. 129–30, fig. 73.

Scholten, Frits, ed. Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. no. 27, pp. 216–17, 614.

Scholten, Frits. "The Boxwood Carvers of the Late Gothic Netherlands." In Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries, edited by Frits Scholten. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. pp. 60, 63.

Scholten, Frits. "Statuettes: 'Taillee en bois bien fecte'." In Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries, edited by Frits Scholten. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. p. 440.

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. 178–79, fig. 81.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Alexandra Suda. "Handpicked: Collecting Boxwood Carvings from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Centuries." In Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries, edited by Frits Scholten. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. pp. 380–81, fig. 163.