Ivories of the So-Called Grado Chair: Annunciation to the Virgin
Made in Eastern Mediterranean or Egypt
7 3/4 x 3 3/4 x 1/4 in. (19.7 x 9.5 x 0.6 cm)
Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Applicata—Castle Sforzesco, Milan (avori n. 14)
Not on view
The original use and arrangement of these fourteen ivories of the So-called Grado Chair with scenes from the life of Christ, depictions of saints, and of Saint Mark as first bishop of Alexandria remain uncertain. They may have been part of a liturgical throne given by Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–41) to Grado, Italy, after his successful re-conquest of Egypt. Exquisitely carved, this ivory shows the archangel Gabriel gesturing toward the Virgin before a building with an elaborate pediment.
Inscription: [in Greek, above the angel:] Gabriel; [above the virgin:] [monogram for] Saint Mary
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.