2018HSSL_FlipBooks

2018_FlipBook_Getlein_LivingWithArt_12e

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T H E M I D D L E A G E S I N E U R O P E  • 365 The reliquary statue of Saint Foy is a fine example of the treasures that were offered to and displayed in medieval churches. The plaque with Christ Presenting the Keys to Saint Peter and the Law to Saint Paul (15.17) was also made for a church. This ivory relief features Jesus standing on a domed structure that represents heav- enly Jerusalem. He offers keys and a scroll to Peter and Paul, who receive these gifts reverentially with hands covered. The keys refer to Jesus's statement to Peter: "[T]hou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 16:18–19). This statement was interpreted to designate Peter as the first leader or pope of the Catholic faith. Keys remain the symbol of the pope even today. The scroll Jesus gives Paul is the law, which Paul received and inter- preted for those he converted to Christianity. By the Middle Ages, Paul's writings guided much of Christian practice. This small carved plaque commemorating the foundation of Western Christi- anity also reveals typical Romanesque visual characteristics. The figures are stylized and elongated, with a hierarchy of scale that makes Jesus larger than his followers. The clothing they wear falls in patterned folds that do little to describe the three- dimensional bodies beneath. The figures' faces are stereotyped rather than indi- vidualized. The symmetrical composition emphasizes symbols over nature, like Early Christian or Byzantine art. The frame, however, reveals Roman inspiration, with the same acanthus leaves we might find on a Roman column capital or mosaic design. 15.16 Reliquary statue of Saint Foy. Late 10th–early 11th century. Gold and gemstones over a wooden core, height 33 ½". Cathedral Treasury, Conques, France. akg- images/Paul M. R. Maeyaert 15.17 Plaque with Christ Presenting the Keys to Saint Peter and the Law to Saint Paul. ca. 1150–1200 c.e. Ivory, 5 15⁄16 × 3 ⅜ × ⅜". The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1979

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