Diptych with Scenes from the Passion of Christ

Unknownc. 1250

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Diptychs and triptychs that could be opened and closed, and which served as precious objects of private devotion, were made by carvers of ivory in the Gothic period following the Byzantine example. This Berlin piece, remarkable for its artistic quality, numbers among the earliest diptychs, which were often devoted to the Passion of Christ. The graceful little figures, seen in a variety of naturalistic postures, are presented in groups spatially linked by actions. They are fitted into a series of pointed arches topping slender columns. The illusion of spatial depth is heightened by this architectural framework. The narrative proceeds continuously across both wings, starting at the lower left and ending at the upper right.

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