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Art/ Collection/ Art Object


14th century
Made in France
Overall: 3 3/16 x 7 3/16 x 4 1/8 in. (8.1 x 18.3 x 10.5 cm) Lid: 7 3/16 x 4 1/8 x 3/16 in. (18.3 x 10.5 x 0.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of George Blumenthal, 1941
Accession Number:
41.100.159a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
The biblical parable of high living, disgrace, and paternal reconciliation (Luke 15:11–32) was an appropriate subject for this casket, intended to hold valuables. The missing scene of the Return of the Son was probably intended for the lid; instead, the replacement lid illustrates the stages of love.
George and Florence Blumenthal, Paris and New York (by 1926-1941)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Arts of the Middle Ages: A Loan Exhibition," February 17, 1940–March 24, 1940.

Katonah Museum of Art. "Love and Courtship in the Middle Ages," October 2, 2005–January 1, 2006.

New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens. "The Game of Kings: Medieval Ivory Chessmen from the Isle of Lewis," November 15, 2011–April 22, 2012.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Metropolitan Vanities: The History of the Dressing Table," December 17, 2013–April 13, 2014.

Rubinstein-Bloch, Stella. Catalogue of the Collection of George and Florence Blumenthal, New York: Volume 3, Works of Art, Mediaeval and Renaissance. Paris: A. Lévy, 1926. pl. VI–VII.

Arts of the Middle Ages: A Loan Exhibition. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1940. no. 138, p. 45.

Verdier, Philippe. "The Tapestry of the Prodigal Son." The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 18 (1955). p. 53 n. 59.

Gómez-Moreno, Carmen, ed. Medieval Images: A Glimpse into the Symbolism and Reality of the Middle Ages. Katonah: Katonah Museum of Art, 1978. no. 16, pp. 7, 18–19.

Boardman, Phillip C., Marcia Cohn Growdon, and Francis X. Hartigan, ed. Culture of the Middle Ages: A Festival of the Medieval Arts. Treasures of the Middle Ages. Reno, Nevada: Sierra Nevada Museum of Art, 1978. no. 21, (unpaginated).

Songs of Glory: Medieval Art from 900 to 1500. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Museum of Art, 1985. no. 79, pp. 229–31.

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. 23, p. 59.

Pushkin Museum and State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-Prikladnoe Iskusstvo ot Pozdnei Antichnosti do Pozdnei Gotiki: Kratkii Katalog Vystavki. Moscow: Pushkin Museum, 1990. no. 45, p. 12.

State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-Prikladnoe Iskusstvo ot Pozdnei Antichnosti do Pozdnei Gotiki. St. Petersburg: State Hermitage Museum, 1990. no. 45, pp. 96–97.

Campbell, C. Jean. "Courting, Harlotry and the Art of Gothic Ivory Carving." Gesta 34, no. 1 (1995). 11–19, fig. 1–4.

Constable, Olivia Remie. "Chess and Courtly Culture in Medieval Castile: The 'Libro de ajedrez' of Alfonso X, el Sabio." Speculum 82, no. 2 (April 2007). p. 329 n. 77.

Campbell, C. Jean. The Commonwealth of Nature: Art and Poetic Community in the Age of Dante. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008. p. 113, fig. 51.

Manuwald, Henrike. "Carving the Folie Tristan: Ivory Caskets as Material Evidence of Textual History." In Medieval Romance and Material Culture, edited by Nicholas Perkins. Studies in Medieval Romance. Rochester, N.Y.: D. S. Brewer, 2015. p. 222 n. 35.

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