Altarpiece with Relics

Altarpiece with Relics

c. 1735-1740

Part of a set. See all set records

Joseph Matthias Götz and Workshop

(German, 1696-1760)

Gilded wood, with relics in niches: gilded wood, mother-of-pearl, ebony, red silk, gold wire, seed pearls, rock crystal, pen and ink on paper

Overall: 165.1 x 108 x 20 cm (65 x 42 1/2 x 7 7/8 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1964.357

Description

Götz covers every surface in gold leaf, giving each part of the object equal importance, rather than simply framing a central picture. In this distinctively Central European approach, figural narrative is subordinate to the overall ensemble. Götz designed this object to rest on top of an altar, probably in front of a larger painted or sculpted decorative scheme. The work contains relics seen through the small windows on the perimeter. These small remains of holy figures demonstrate the persistence of a medieval Catholic tradition well into the 1700s.

Video

What Imagery is Depicted on this Altarpiece?
Turning Wood into Gold
Relics of Saints in the 18th Century
See also

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