Enamel Plaque from the Altar Frontal of Saint Martin at Orense (Spain)

Enamel Plaque from the Altar Frontal of Saint Martin at Orense (Spain)

1174-1213 (probably before 1188)

Copper: engraved, stippled, gilded; champlevé enamel

Average: 13.7 x 8.9 cm (5 3/8 x 3 1/2 in.)

Gift of Kelvin Smith 1966.735

Description

This almond-shaped enamel plaque depicts the half-length figure of an angel inscribed in a medallion. A nearly identical plaque in the cathedral treasury of St. Martin at Orense in Galicia (Northern Spain) suggests that this plaque once formed part of a large altar frontal commissioned by Bishop Alfonso of Orense (reigned 1174-1213). Fifty-three enameled plaques of this important ensemble are still preserved at the Cathedral of Orense. Others, including this one, were possiblu removed during the Napoleonic era.

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