Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Dead Christ with the Virgin, Saint John, and Angels

ca. 1390–1405
Made in Paris, France
Opaque and translucent enamel on gold
Overall: 2 7/16 x 2 5/16 x 3/8 in. (6.2 x 5.8 x 1 cm) center medallion: 1 15/16 in. (5 cm)
Enamels-Ronde Bosse
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
This medallion reveals how close metalwork and painting were at the beginning of the fifteenth century: such images, often referred to in inventories as tableaux d'or, use the same pictorial conventions as panel paintings to engage the viewer. An object for private devotion, it encouraged the owner to reflect on and emulate the suffering of the holy figures. Mary and John, shown half-length, hold the dead Christ upright against the edge of the sarcophagus, a scene not mentioned in the Gospels. An angel hovers above Christ's head, with the crown of thorns in his hands. Two other angels hold a curtain behind and in front of the three main figures, both concealing and unveiling them, as in a vision.
Oscar Hainauer, Berlin (until d. 1894); by descent to his widow, Julie Hainauer, Berlin (1894–sold 1906, to Duveen); [ Duveen Brothers, London, Paris and New York (sold July 1906, to Morgan)]; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (1906–until d. 1913); Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan, New York (1913–17)
Paris. Musée du Louvre. "L'art parisien sous Charles VI," March 22, 2004–July 12, 2004.

Bode, Wilhelm von. Die Sammlung Oscar Hainauer. Berlin: Druck von W. Büxenstein, 1897. no. 407, p. 126.

Bode, Wilhelm von, ed. Ausstellung von Kunstwerken des Mittelalters und der Renaissance aus Berliner Privatbesitz veranstaltet von der Kunstgeschichtlichen Gesellschaft. Berlin: G. Grote, 1899. pl. XLVI, no. 10.

Bode, Wilhelm von. The Collection of Oscar Hainauer. Reprint (with English trans.) ed. London: Chiswick Press, 1906. no. 407, p. 126.

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. 30, p. 42, pl. XVII.

Müller, Theodor, and Erich Steingräber. "Die französische Goldemailplastik um 1400." Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, 3rd ser., 5 (1954). no. 13, pp. 49, 73, fig. 31.

Gómez-Moreno, Carmen. "Gold." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 31, no. 2 (1972–1973). p. 78.

Kammel, Frank Matthias, and Andreas Curtius. Spiegel der Seligkeit: Privates Bild und Frömmigkeit im Spätmittelalter. Nuremberg: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, 2000. pp. 54-55.

Taburet-Delahaye, Elisabeth, ed. Paris 1400: Les Arts sous Charles VI. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2004. no. 149, p. 248.

Fricke, Beate. "Matter and Meaning of Mother-of-Pearl: The Origins of Allegory in the Spheres of Things." Gesta 51, no. 1 (2012). pp. 41–42, fig. 5.

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. 132, 137, fig. 76.

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