Book-Cover Plaque with Christ in Majesty


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304

The importance of scripture in Christianity is such that the book becomes an attribute of God himself. Here Christ is poised majestically in the heavens, surrounded by winged symbols of the authors of the four gospels, two of whom clutch books. This book cover is typical of more than a hundred surviving examples created in Limoges, France in the early 13th century. Luxurious in appearance, such book covers, made from enameled copper plaques, were a relatively sturdy and affordable alternative to silver or gold. Few book covers of Limoges work are still attached to manuscripts, but those that are can be found on gospel books across Europe: in Cracow, Germany and France.

Book-Cover Plaque with Christ in Majesty, Copper: engraved, chased, scraped, stippled, and gilt; champlevé enamel: dark and light blue, turquoise, green, yellow, red, and white, French

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