Exhibitions/ Art Object

Bernward Cross

after 1007/before 1022; base: 14th century
German (Hildesheim)
Silver with gilding
Overall (height with base): 12 3/16 x 5 1/2 in. (31 x 14 cm); Height (without base): 7 15/16 in. (20.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Dom-Museum Hildesheim (DS 6)
Not on view
This selectively gilded silver crucifix is among the most precious surviving works from the Ottonian era. Christ is sensitively rendered, his body hanging heavily to emphasize his suffering. The work was possibly a processional cross adapted as an altar cross in the fourteenth century, when its base was made. Inscriptions on its back identify Bishop Bernward as patron and list the now-lost relics that were contained in a cavity in Christ’s body.
St. Michael's Monastery, Hildesheim (after 1007/before 1022); Cathedral Treasury, Hildesheim (19th century); Dom-Museum Hildesheim Documentation: Victor Heinrich Elbern, Der Hildesheimer Domschatz (Hildesheim: Lax, 1969), no. 6; Michael Brandt and Arne Eggebrecht, eds., Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen: Katalog der Ausstellung, Hildesheim 1993 (Hildesheim: Bernward Verlag/Mainz: Ph. v. Zabern, 1993), vol. 2, pp. 578-581.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim," September 16, 2013–January 5, 2014.