Byzantium, 14th Century / Painted Reliquary Box with Scenes from the Life of John the Baptist / 1300sByzantium, 14th Century
Painted Reliquary Box with Scenes from the Life of John the Baptist

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Creator Nationality: Byzantine
Creator Name-CRT: Byzantium, 14th Century
Title: Painted Reliquary Box with Scenes from the Life of John the Baptist
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1300
Creation End Date: 1400
Creation Date: 1300s
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: wood
Materials and Techniques: tempera and gold on wood
Dimensions: Overall: 23.5cm x 9.9cm x 9cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1999.229.a
ID Number: 1999.229.b
Credit Line: Gift of Bruce Ferrini in memory of Robert P. Bergman
Context: The two long sides of this small chest are divided into four sections, each with a scene from the life of Saint John the Baptist: 1) The Visitation and Annunciation to Zacharias; 2) The Birth of John the Baptist; 3) The Baptism of Christ; and 4) The Martyrdom of John the Baptist. These scenes suggest that the box was originally intended to hold a relic, now lost, of this saint.Ivory in Byzantine ArtIvory, usually obtained from elephant tusks, can be carved and polished with delicate precision, and its natural luster, subtle grain, and color grow richer with age. The Romans greatly admired ivory as a material for small-scale carvings. Yet because ivory was very difficult and costly to obtain, it was generally accessible only to wealthy or high-ranking individuals. Appreciation for this luxury material continued in Early Christian and Byzantine art.Though sometimes used for grand objects, such as bishop's thrones, ivory was favored mainly for book covers, portable icons, and a variety of small con-tainers. Like textiles, jewels, and manuscripts, ivories were easily transported, so they contributed to the spread of Byzantine artistic styles over a wide area.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1999.229.a-b
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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