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Currently shown

Processional Cross

Location

ITALY, SULMONA

Title

Processional Cross

Date

1468-1483

Materials

Silver, silver gilt, enamel, gilded copper, iron, wood

Dimensions

72 x 48.5 x 7.5 cm

Credits

Gift of the John Main Prayer Association, by prior gift of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, inv. 1994.Ds.1

Collection

Decorative Arts and Design

The main body of this processional cross is made of wood, with thin plaques of silver nailed to it. The silver figure of Christ, cast in the round, is attached to the centre. At the end of each arm of the cross are figures in high relief: at the top, God the Father; to the left, Saint John; to the right, the Virgin Mary; and at the bottom, Mary Magdalene. The reverse displays bas-relief figures of the four Evangelists and small enamel roundels with engraved images of the Archangel Gabriel, the Virgin Mary and Saint Anthony Abbot. Each silver plaque bears the punch mark of the town of Sulmona for the period from 1468 to 1483. Sulmona was the centre of goldwork in the Abruzzi region of Italy, and this art reached a peak there in the fifteenth century with the presence of master goldsmith Guardiagrele. The cross does not bear a goldsmith's mark, but each figure's pose, the naturalism of the facial features, and the fluid drapery resemble Guardiagrele's work. The volume of the figures suggests the influence of the great Florentine sculptor Ghiberti, who Guardiagrele had worked with. The processional cross is an especially fine example of the Early Renaissance sculptural tradition in a commission by a Sulmona goldsmith.

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