Feb 19, 2005

Reliquary Statuette of Saint Agnes

Reliquary Statuette of Saint Agnes

shortly after 1520

Silver, mostly gilded, chased, cast, engraved

Overall: 47.2 x 19 x 16 cm (18 9/16 x 7 1/2 x 6 5/16 in.)


Did you know?

The veneration of relics has long been part of Christian religious practice; even the smallest fragments were imbued with the complete presence of the saint and therefore had the power to intercede with the divine on behalf of the faithful.


A serene Saint Agnes, dressed in a contemporary courtly fashion, holds a silver ring and a prayer book. Virgin martyrs were often depicted entering into mystical marriage with Christ, representing their spiritual union with the divine. Agnes is also accompanied by a lamb, a symbol of piety. Her familiar clothing may have helped worshippers feel closer to the long-dead saint. Latin prayers on her garment and the base of the statue call upon holy figures to protect devotees. An additional inscription honors the donor of the statue—Rudolf von Langen (1438–1519)—who gifted the piece to Münster Cathedral at his death to ensure continued
prayers for his salvation.

See also
MED - Gothic
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 

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