Wood and gesso
Overall: 167.7 x 48.3 cm (66 x 19 in.)
Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1915.572
The carved coat of arms on the lectern desk are those of Pope Clement XI, who reigned from 1700 to 1721.
Lecterns of this type were used in Roman Catholic churches and monastery chapels to hold the Bible, from which a priest would read the lessons of scripture and at some points during the liturgy, guide the participants in prayer. The high degree of decoration was achieved by applying plaster gesso to the wooden base allowing for elaborate carving in the same way that a picture frame is worked. Sometimes lecterns bearing the arms of a pope or cardinal like this one were gifts to mark the visit or favor of that official.
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