Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Plaque with the Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew

Date:
ca. 1160–80
Geography:
Made in England
Culture:
British
Medium:
Champlevé enamel on gilded copper
Dimensions:
3 7/16 × 4 15/16 × 1/8 in. (8.7 × 12.5 × 0.3 cm)
Classification:
Enamels-Champlevé
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 2013
Accession Number:
2013.508
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
This rare and highly important plaque epitomizes a key moment in the history of medieval art, when goldsmiths—who had traditionally used enamels only as a substitute for colored gems—realized the full potential of the technique as a narrative art form.
The theatrical nature of the Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew comes to life through the use of rich color, sure engraving, dramatic gestures and intense gazes. The artist represents compelling details as Jesus, standing at the edge of the Sea of Galilee, calls the brothers to be “fishers of men”: Peter gathers up his robe to keep it dry as he steps from the boat, while Andrew pushes with an oar against the waves.
The acquisition of this Romanesque enamel significantly enriches The Cloisters Treasury, adding a rare example, attributed to England, to the Limoges and Mosan masterpieces already in the collection. Part of a larger ensemble focused on the lives of Saints Peter and Paul, its original context and the circumstances that allowed it and seven other plaques to be preserved are unknown.
Private Collection, Lyon (sold 2013) ; De Baecque Auctions, Lyon (May 27, 2013, lot 51)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Winchester Bible: A Masterpiece of Medieval Art in Context," December 8, 2014–March 8, 2015.

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