Collection Online
Reliquary with image of Saint Mary Magdalene

Reliquary with image of Saint Mary Magdalene
(18th century)

Medium
wax, paper, metal thread, wood, glass
Measurements
20.2 × 16.7 × 4.7 cm
Place/s of Execution
France
Inscription
inscribed in pen and brown ink on paper c.l.: S. Maurii M.
inscribed in pen and brown ink on paper u.l.: S. Benigni M.
inscribed in pen and brown ink on paper u.c.: Reliquae .S S.
inscribed in pen and brown ink on paper u.r.: S. Desidirii M.
inscribed in pen and brown ink on paper c.r.: S. Justini M.
Accession Number
D438-1980
Department
International Decorative Arts
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Bequest of Mrs Henry Marsh, 1980
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts
Level 1, NGV International
Physical description
Tablet of wax moulded in form of 1/2 figure St Mary Magdalene mounted on scrolled base.
Where medieval reliquaries had employed rich materials such as gold, enamel and gemstones, signifying the divine light and the heavenly realm to which a saint’s relics provided a link, many of the reliquaries produced by members of cloistered women’s religious orders in the post-Reformation era purposely used humble materials like paper, wax and thread. This was a conscious rejection of all excess – the only treasures worthy of the name were the relics themsleves.