Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

In the late Middle Ages, Christian spirituality increasingly focused on the salvation of individual souls. Devotional practice was no longer confined to the liturgy, but was supplemented with private prayer. Individuals acquired their own prayer books, and the growing aristocratic and bourgeois classes commissioned small devotional works, like the portable ivory shown here. The invention of printmaking led to the proliferation of sacred images, some inspired by earlier manuscript illuminations. Other objects, like the bronze plaque here, were in turn modeled after prints.

[1946.56, 1957.217, 1962.282, BR65.10]

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Unidentified Artist
Diptych with Four Scenes from the Life of Christ
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Diptych with four Representations of Religious Sciences
Work Type
14th century
Creation Place: Europe, France, Ile-de-France
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2440, Medieval Art, Medieval Art
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
21.7 x 12.9 x 1.6 cm (8 9/16 x 5 1/16 x 5/8 in.)
[Brummer Gallery, Inc., New York, NY, December 1946, sold;] to the Fogg Art Museum by friends of Rosalind Gray Potter.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift in memory of Rosalind Gray Potter from a group of friends
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Georg Swarzenski, "A Gothic Ivory Diptych", Bulletin of the Fogg Art Museum (December 1947), X, 6, p. 179-84. p. 180, repr.

Richard H. Randall, Jr., The Golden Age of Ivory: Gothic Carvings in North American Collections, Hudson Hills Press (New York, NY, 1993), no. 58, p. 68, repr.

Gothic Ivories Project, website, Courtauld Institute of Art, 2010,

Exhibition History

The Spirit of the Cathedral, Old South Church, Boston, 05/01/1964 - 05/31/1964

Re-View: S422-423 Western Art of the Middle Ages & Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 2440 Medieval, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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