Reliquary Cross

Date: ca. 1366–1400

Geography: Made in the Marches, Italy

Culture: Italian

Medium: Translucent enamel, silver, silver-gilt, rock crystal, glass, iron tang

Dimensions: Overall (with tang): 24 5/16 x 16 5/16 x 1 1/16 in. (61.8 x 41.5 x 2.7 cm)
Overall (without tang): 19 3/8 x 16 5/16 x 1 1/16 in. (49.2 x 41.5 x 2.7 cm)
measurement of single quatrefoil: 3 9/16 x 3 9/16 x 13/16 in. (9.1 x 9.1 x 2.1 cm)
Ht. to spacer on tang: 20 3/16 in. (51.2 cm)

Classification: Enamels-Basse taille

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.498


The convex rock crystal at the center once sheltered and magnified a fragment of wood believed to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The whole is sumptuously decorated with images of the life of Jesus on one side, and of saints linked to Saint Francis on the other. Many Franciscan communities in Italy commissioned works of art using translucent enamel, which shimmers like stained glass.