To give the events depicted all the drama of a stage set, the artist who created this prayer bead worked in layers. Our conservator has disassembled the bead to show how it was constructed (select Additional Images above).
Some members of the crowd gathered for the Crucifixion were carved on a separate piece of boxwood that was then secured in place behind the Cross. They appear against the backdrop of a town with stepped facades and towers that look Netherlandish, not at all like the biblical city of Jerusalem.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
Inscription: (Exterior legend): [image of a flower] ATTENDITE . ET . VIDETE . SI EST . DOLOR . SICVT . DOLOR . MEVS ([image of a flower] Look and see if [there] is sorrow like my sorrow [Lamentations 1:12])
(Interior legend): O CRUX . AVE . SPES / VNIR [VNICA] HOC PASSIONIS . TEMPORE . AV[GE] / PIIS . IVSTICIAM (O Cross, hail, [our] only hope. In this time of suffering, increase justice for holy [people/things] [Venantius Fortunatus, 'Vexilla regis,' Good Friday hymn])
(Along top of interior cross): I[ESVS] N[AZARENVS] R[EX] I[VDAEORVM] (Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews [John 19:19])
Baron Albert Oppenheim, Cologne(sold 1906); J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (1906–1917)
Portland Art Museum. "Masterworks in Wood - The Christian Tradition," November 12, 1975–January 4, 1976.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Incisive Images: Ivory and Boxwood Carvings, 1450–1800," March 13–November 25, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A New Look at a Van Eyck Masterpiece," January 25–April 24, 2016.
Toronto. Art Gallery of Ontario. "Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures," November 5, 2016–January 22, 2017.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures," February 22–May 21, 2017.
Molinier, Emile. Collection du Baron Albert Oppenheim: Tableaux et objets d'art, catalogue précédé d'une introduction. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1904. no. 93, p. 41, pl. LXII.
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. 39, pp. 62, 63–64, pl. XXIII, color pl. 16.
Tangerman, E. J. Whittling and woodcarving. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936. p. 254, fig. 386, 387.
Dingelstedt, Kurt. "Betnuß." Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte 2 (1948). pp. 377–78.
Portland Art Museum. Masterworks in Wood: The Christian Tradition. Portland, OR: Portland Art Association, 1976. no. 33.
Romanelli, Susan J. "South Netherlandish Boxwood Devotional Sculpture 1475–1530." PhD diss., Columbia University, 1992. no. 26, pp. 279–80, 32, 57, 62, 146 ,147, fig. 43–44.
Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Alexandra Suda. "Devotion." In Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, edited by Lisa Ellis, and Alexandra Suda. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2016. p. 96.
Dandridge, Pete, and Lisa Ellis. "Making." In Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, edited by Lisa Ellis, and Alexandra Suda. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2016. pp. 40, 52, 53.
Dandridge, Pete, and Lisa Ellis. "Workshop Practices." In Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries, edited by Frits Scholten. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. pp. 550–51, fig. 249.
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. 108–9, fig. 64.
Scholten, Frits, ed. Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. no. 17, pp. 157, 610.
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