Nov 25, 2008
Nov 25, 2008

Pax with the Madonna and Child

Pax with the Madonna and Child

after 1506


(Italian, 1467–1528)

Silver and gilt silver

Overall: 11.8 x 7 cm (4 5/8 x 2 3/4 in.)

Bequest of Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1989.251



A pax is a small flat tablet decorated with Christian images and meant to be kissed by the priest before Communion. The Madonna, crowned with a halo, sits with the Christ child on her right knee, and her drapery falls delicately off her right shoulder as she exposes her breast to the Christ child. Christ's posture is characteristic of an infant, and his body turns out as he clasps onto his mother's drapery while his head faces inward. In the background, Saint Joseph holds a cross. Two angels, each with a wreath, float in the distance above the Madonna's head while on each side of the Madonna, the heads of five male saints are represented, carved in low relief. Some saints focus on the holy family, while others look upward to heaven. Saint Joseph is cast in higher relief, while the Madonna and Child stand in the highest relief. The pax is in the shape of an architectural structure. Above the pediment, the pax's hanging hole is supported by two concave tear shapes on either side of it. The bottom border is decorated with palmettes, and in the center, a shield bears the Medici coat of arms. Within the structure's pediment, God the Father outstretches his arms. A cherub floats to God's right and the two gaze down upon the holy family and saints.

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