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Diptych, 4 registers, bands of rosettes (décor de roses) (Front)

Diptych, 4 registers, bands of rosettes (décor de roses) (Front)
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Religious. Passion.

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San Lorenzo del Escorial, Real Sitio de San Lorenzo del Escorial

Inv. 10009035

Ivory;metal (later hinge)

Height: 304mm
Width: 246mm (open)

Wing, left
Register 1: Entombment (Anointing of Christ's body). Noli me Tangere (Christ appearing to saint Mary Magdalene); tree.
Register 2: Flagellation. Carrying of the Cross with the Virgin helping Christ; man holding nails.
Register 3: Judas receiving the reward (payment in silver). Betrayal (Taking of Christ); Christ restores Malchus' ear, cut by saint Peter. Death of Judas (Judas hanging).
Register 4: Journey of the Three Magi; Magi on horseback.
Wing, right
Register 1: Three Holy Women at the Tomb, with angel seated on the tomb and two soldiers asleep. Harrowing of Hell with Adam and Eve coming out of the Mouth of Hell; souls burning in Hell; demons; Christ trampling a demon.
Register 2: Crucifixion with the Virgin and saint John the Evangelist; Longinus piercing Christ's side; Stephaton giving Christ vinegar; Stephaton holding a bucket. Deposition with the Virgin holding Christ's hand; saint John the Evangelist crying; Joseph of Arimathea holding Christ's body; man with pincers removing the nail from Christ's feet.
Register 3: Christ before Pilate. Buffeting of Christ (Mocking of Christ); head of Christ covered by a cloth.
Register 4: Adoration of the Magi; attendant with horses; whip.

Koechlin Number: 0258

Williams 1907: Spanish (?), 2nd half of the 13th century.
Koechlin 1924: French, 1st third of the 14th century.
Natanson 1951: French, c. 1320-1340.
Museum's opinion 2012: French, 1st half of the 14th century.


Traces of three original hinges; replaced with one long hinge.

Polychromy - Gilding
Extensive traces of gilding and polychromy: gold (decorative patterns on the background; hair; along the hems), black (hair), painted arches and quatrefoil on the tomb, red, green (clothes), shoes, eyes, etc.

Flat and smooth.
Label with inscription: '2335' (corresponding to the 1885 inventory).

Object Condition
One off-centred drilled hole in the lower edge of each wing. Two drilled holes in the upper edge of each wing (one close to the hinge side and one two thirds of the way towards the outer side).

Owned by Margaret of Austria, Princess of Asturias and Duchess of Savoy (b. 1480, d. 1530), who passed it on to Joanna of Castile (Juana I de Castilla; Juana la Loca)(1545 inventory mentioned by Estella Marcos 1984); by inheritance to Joanna's son, emperor Charles V (b. 1500, d. 1558), it is recorded by the Simancas inventory, 26 February 1561, as 'Un retablillo pequeño de las ystorias de la Pasion de bulto; es de marfil todo, figuras y tablas, bien hecho en blanco' (see R. Beer, 'Acten, Regesten und Inventare aus dem Archivo General zu Simancas', in Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses 12 (1891), p. CLXIX, Reg. 8455, nº 74); by inheritance to his son, Philip II (Felipe II) (b. 1527, d. 1598), king of Spain, founder of the monastery at El Escorial; his gift to the monastery, as part of the 'primera entrega' (12-16 April 1574): recorded as 'Un retablico de dos puertas, con quatro órdenes de sanctos en cada portecica, labradas de relieve de la historia de la Pasión; todo de marfil, que tiene poco más de un pie en cuadro' (a Castilian foot is approximately 20cm), in Archivo General de Palacio: Patronatos, San Lorenzo, caja 82, Entrega I, f. 206; published by Fr. J. Zarco Cuevas (ed.), Inventario de las alhajas, relicarios, estatuas, pinturas, tapices y otros objetos de valor y curiosidad donados por el rey don Felipe II al Monasterio de El Escorial. Años de 1571 a 1598 (Madrid, 1930), p. 206, 1590.

J. Amador de los Ríos, 'Díptico de marfil existente en el monasterio de El Escorial', in Museo Español de Antigüedades II (1873), pp. 361-372.
Exposición Histórico-Europea, exhibition catalogue, Madrid, 1892, room XVI, no. 155.
E. Molinier, 'Notes sur l'Exposition de Madrid', in L'Art II, no. 55 (1893), p. 12.
L. Williams, The Arts and Crafts of Older Spain, 3 vols (London and Edinburgh, 1907), II, p. 108; pl. XLVI. Accessible online via Internet Archive: http://archive.org/details/artscraftsofolde02will [accessed December 2012].
E. Bertaux, L'exposition rétrospective de Saragosse. Texte historique et critique (Zaragoza and Paris, 1910), pl. LXV.
R. Koechlin, 'Les Diptyques à décor de roses', in Gazette des Beaux-Arts (1918), pl. opp. p. 238.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, pp. 88, 154, 156, 158; II, no. 258; III, pl. LXVII.
J. Ferrandis Torres, Marfiles y azabaches españoles (Barcelona, 1928), pp. 201-202, pl. LXX.
J. Natanson, Gothic Ivories of the 13th and 14th Centuries (London, 1951), p. 36, fig. 32.
M. L. Herrera, 'Díptico de marfil gótico del monasterio de El Escorial', in Revista de archivos, bibliotecas y museos 71 (1963), pp. 293-302.
G. de Andrés, 'Historia y descripción del Camarín de Reliquias de El Escorial', in Anales del Instituto de estudios madrileños VII-pt 2 (1972), pp. 115-127 (p. 122, no. 14).
M. Estella, 'La Talla del marfil', in Historia de las Artes Aplicadas e Industriales en España (Madrid, 1982), pp. 435-462 (p. 453).
M.-M. Estella Marcos, La Escultura de marfil en España románica y gótica (Madrid, 1984) , pp. 169-172, fig. 40.


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