About this artwork
Ivory was used to make highly prized devotional objects in the Gothic era. This triptych features scenes from the infancy and Passion of Christ, arranged in a chronological sequence from left to right, starting at the bottom with the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Presentation in the Temple. The narrative continues in the top register with the Road to Calvary, Christ on the Cross, and the encounter of Christ and Mary Madgalen after the Resurrection. Such small devotional objects might be kept on a stand or cabinet in a bedroom, ready to be used as a focus for prayer by the layperson who owned them, along with an illuminated Psalter or Book of Hours. The intimate scale and movable wings of the triptych made it easy to store in a chest or to carry from one residence to another as needed. Although Paris has long been recognized as a great center for ivory carving in the Gothic era, recent scholarship has also emphasized the importance of workshops in England, Germany, and Italy—affirming the popularity of the medium throughout medieval Europe. This triptych was most likely made by a master artist and his atelier working in Germany, probably in Cologne.
- Triptych with Scenes from the Life of Christ
- Ivory with traces of gold
- 25.7 × 17.5 cm (10 1/8 × 6 15/16 in.)
- Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection