Diptych with the Nativity and the Mass of Saint Gregory


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306

Among the more than 130 miniature boxwood carvings that have survived, this is the only diptych. While the subjects are not unusual, the inscriptions are particularly complex, drawing on the writings of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and other theologians.

By tradition, it is said that this piece belonged to Queen Christina of Spain in the nineteenth century. It may reflect her Habsburg ancestors’ taste for miniature boxwood carvings from the Netherlands, a territory they ruled at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

Diptych with the Nativity and the Mass of Saint Gregory, Boxwood, Netherlandish

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