Exhibitions/ Art Object

Bernward's Candlesticks (pair)

before 1022
Made in Hildesheim, Germany
German (Hildesheim)
Silver with gilding and niello; iron core
H. a: 16 91/6 in. (42 cm); H. b: 16 1/8 in. (41 cm)
Credit Line:
Dom-Museum Hildesheim (DS L 9)
Not on view
These rare and precious candlesticks are perhaps the most important to survive from the Middle Ages. Masterpieces of casting, they are lavishly decorated with a variety of motifs, including abundant foliage, nude men riding dragons, and figures climbing the vine-covered shaft or eating grapes, which might allude to the Eucharist. Both candlesticks bear the following enigmatic inscription in Latin: “Bishop Bernward ordered his servant to cast this candlestick in the first flowering of this art, not from gold or silver but nevertheless as you
see it here.”
St. Michael's Monastery, Hildesheim (before 1022); Church of St. Magdalene, Hildesheim (19th century); permanent loan to the Dom-Museum Hildesheim Documentation: Victor Heinrich Elbern, Der Hildesheimer Domschatz (Hildesheim: Lax, 1969), no. 9; 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. 581-584.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim," September 16, 2013–January 5, 2014.