Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Salerno Ivories

I posted an image from the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts (Budapest) on Flickr today - a nice and small ivory panel showing the Creation of birds and fish.  I detected from responses that there is some interest in the piece - hence this brief post on the Salerno ivories. Together with its companion piece at the Metropolitan Museum, the plaque comes from the cathedral of Salerno and dates from about 1080-1084.  About fifty such plaques survive, all of which once decorated a large piece of church furnishing, such as an altar or reliquary. The panels depict biblical scenes from the Old and New Testament.

The plaque from Budapest traveled back to Salerno for an exhibition in 2007-2008. Titled "The Enigma of the Medieval Ivories from Salerno", the exhibition aimed to gather as many of these original pieces as possible (most of course are preserved to this day at the Museo Diocesano at Salerno). You can learn a lot more about the ivories by visiting the website of the exhibition. Photos of the individual ivory plaques are also available on the website of photographer Roberto Bigano. A two-day workshop at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, held in 2009, launched an ongoing research project dedicated to these ivories. So, expect to hear more about them in the near future!

(If, on the other hand, you would like to know more about the Museum of Applied Arts, you can follow the new Twitter account of the museum).

1 comment:

  1. The first medieval ivory I knew about was the 12th century Bury St Edmunds Cross. It was a thrilling discovery. The Salerno ivories are even earlier (late 11th century) and are even more thrilling.