Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Plaque with Saint Aemilian

Master Engelram and his son Redolfo (Spanish, active Longroño, 1060–1090/5)
Made in La Rioja, Spain
Elephant ivory, with glass inlay
Overall: 8 1/8 x 3 x 1/4 in. (20.6 x 7.6 x 0.7 cm)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1987
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
The relics of the sixth-century Spanish saint Aemilian were housed in an ornate shrine crafted of ivory, gold, and gems. We are remarkably well informed about the reliquary, which was made on the occasion of the translation (or transport) of the saint's relics from the monastery of Suso to the church of San Millán de la Cogolla, dedicated in 1067. Although the reliquary was damaged during the Napoleonic invasion of Spain in 1809, we know from a 1601 description that The Cloisters' plaque decorated the roof of the shrine. On it we see the saint tending his sheep in the bottom register, while above he receives a blessing from the hand of God at the top of a mountain.

In addition to this plaque, several other ivories from the shrine survive in European and American collections. One, in the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, depicts the ivory carver and his assistant in the workshop and bears an inscription that identifies them as Master Engelram and his son Redolfo. Such images of artists were rare in this period, as was the practice of identifying artists by name.
Inscription: The bottom arch is inscribed: FUTURIS PASTOR HOMIN[U]M ERAT P[A]ST[OR] OVIUM; translation: the future shepherd of men was the keeper of sheep. UBI AEREMUM EXPETIT MONTIS DIRCECII; translation: where he sought the wilderness of Mt. Disterii.
From the monastery church of San Millán de la Cogolla, near Logroño; Jules Lowengard, Paris ; Duvale, Paris ; Jacques Heugel, Paris ; [ Cyril Humphris, Geneva (sold 1987)]
Pamplona, Spain. Baluarte Conference and Exhibition Hall of Navarre. "Sancho el Mayor y sus herederos. El linaje que europeizo los reinos hispanos," January 26, 2006–April 30, 2006.

Sandoval, Prudencio de. Primera Parte de las Fundaciones de los Monasterios del Glorioso Padre San Benito. Madrid: Luis Sánchez, 1601. p. 23v.

Mecolaeta, Diego. Desagravio de la verdad en la historia de San Millan de la Cogolla. Madrid: Lorenzo Francisco Mojados, 1724. pp. 303–4.

Minguella y Arnedo, Toribio. San Millan de la Cogolla: Estudios histórico-religiosos acerca de la patria estado y Vida de San Millan. Madrid: Antonio Pérez Dubrull, 1883. pp. 112–13, (quoting Sandoval).

Peña, Joaquín. Los marfiles de San Millán de la Cogolla. Logroño: Editorial Ochoa, 1978. p. 27, (mentioned as one of the removed plaques).

Recent Acquisitions, 1986-1987 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) (1987). p. 15.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred Seventeenth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1986, through June 30, 1987." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 117 (1987). p. 35.

Harris, Julie A. "The Arca of San Millan de la Cogolla and Its Ivories." PhD diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1989. pp. 4, 40–46, 126, 164–65, fig. 10, 73.

Harris, Julie A. "Culto y Narrativa a en los Marfiles de San Millan de la Cogolla." Boletín del Museo Arqueológico Nacional 9 (1991). pp. 69–85, fig. 2.

Little, Charles T., ed. The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500–1200. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 125c, pp. 262–63.

Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 72, pp. 58–60.

Jiménez-Blanco, María Dolores, and Cindy Mack. Arte español en Nueva York: Guía. Madrid: Hispanic Society of America, 2004. p. 113.

Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. no. 5, pp. 28, 193.

Bango Torviso, Isidro, ed. Sancho el Mayor y sus herederos: el linaje que europeizó los reinos hispanos. Vol. 1. Madrid: Tf. Editores, 2006. no. 119, p. 308.

Franco Mata, María Angela. "Liturgia hispánica y marfiles: Talleres de León y San Millán de la Cogolla en el siglo XI." Codex aquilarensis: Cuadernos de investigación del Monasterio de Santa María la Real 22 (2006). pp. 136–37.

García Guinea, Miguel Ángel, and José María Pérez González, ed. Enciclopedia del románico en La Rioja. Vol. 1. Aguilar de Campoo: Fundacion Santa Maria la Real, Centro de Estudios, 2007. pp. 605–6.

Pardo, Francisco Fernández. Dispersión y Destrucción del Patrimonio Artístico Español. Vol. 4. Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 2007. p. 572, fig. 246.

Pardo, Francisco Fernández. Dispersión y Destrucción del Patrimonio Artístico Español. Vol. 3. 1st ed. Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 2007. p. 388, fig. LXXXIV.

Camacho Matute, Valle, and Emiliano Navas Sánchez. Marfiles de San Millán: Arca románica de sus reliquias. Logroño, La Rioja: Ediciones Emilianenses, 2008. ill.

Bologna, Ferdinando. "Avori Medioevali da Amalfi a Salerno, senza enigmi." In L'enigma degli avori medievali da Amalfi a Salerno, edited by Ferdinando Bologna. Vol. 1. Pozzuoli: Paparo Edizioni, 2008. p. 33, fig. 16, ill. (detail) on p. 28.

Evans, Helen C., ed. The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions – Online Catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008.

Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. 75th Anniversary ed. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 27.

Álvarez da Silva, Noemi. "El trabajo de marfil en la España del siglo XI." PhD diss., Universidad de León, 2014. pp. 393–94, 515, fig. 333.

Shalem, Avinoam. Die mittelalterlichen Olifante: Volume 1, Text. Die Elfenbeinskulpturen. Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 2014. pp. 162, 199, fig. 209.

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