Cameo with the Fasting of Saint Nicholas

South Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304

In this rare scene from his infancy, Saint Nicholas refuses his mother’s milk. The image served as an exemplar for fasting and abstinence, especially for monastic communities. The relics of Saint Nicholas resided at Bari, in southern Italy, where the protection of this popular saint had wide appeal.

The court of Frederick II Hohenstaufen (r. 1215–50) actively promoted the creation and collection of works, such as these cameos, linking Frederick’s reign with the imperial past.

Cameo with the Fasting of Saint Nicholas, Agate with gold frame, South Italian

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