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Diptych: Scenes from the Life of Christ and the Virgin


Artist: Unknown French Primary
Date: mid-14th century
Dimensions: 6.69 x 8.17 x 0.44 in. (16.99 x 20.74 x 1.11 cm)
Dimensions Extent: overall (opened)
Object Type: Relief Sculpture
Creation Place: Europe, France
Medium and Support: Ivory
Credit Line: Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.214)
Accession Number: L2010.01.09
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries


The hinged panels show scenes from the Life and Passion of Jesus Christ, and the Life of the Virgin Mary. Veneration of the Virgin Mary was especially strong in the Gothic era. The portable diptych would have been used as a private devotional tool in the home or while its owner traveled. In the 13th century, ivory and bone carving rose in popularity due to an increased availability of the material as an unusually large number of walruses, whose tusks were used, migrated south. Ivory carving was an important industry in Paris, and remained a sustainable economic source until the late 15th century. The curving figures and elegant style are typical of the period.



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