Plaque with a Saint

French (Southwestern France, Conques (?))
late 11th–early 12th century (?)
Maker Unidentified


6.4 x 4.6 cm (2 1/2 x 1 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Cloisonné enamel and gilding on copper

Not On View





Half-length cloisonné figure in a shallow copper box made of two pieces. It is gilded on the front and sides, and the cloisons are attached to a base plate whose edges, bent to form the sides, are soldered to an upper plate that has been cut to frame the enamel. A shallow impression of the enamel appears on the reverse of the base plate. Radiographs (fig. 14, Swarzenski, Netzer, 1986) show that the enamel extends under the frame cut in the top plate. Enamel colors are lapis blue, turquoise, red, yellow, and a flesh tone (a mixture of red and white). The frontal saint with a yellow halo is shown half-length, wearing lapis-blue tunic with red cuffs and yellow and red bands at the neck. He holds a closed red book in his left hand. Surrounding his right hand is a turquoise area with curved cloissons. Single closons define both the long wavy hair and the contour of the face. A lock of hair, formed by a looped cloison, projects onto the forehead . One cloison also forms the eyebrows and nose and each of the eyes, which are lapis blue. An upper and a lower cloison outline the mouth.


By 1935, Henri Garnier, Lille [see note 1]; July 4, 1938, sold by Garnier to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. P15016); April 23, 1949, Brummer sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, lot 699, to the MFA for $1000. (Accession Date: May 12, 1949)

[1] He lent this to the "Exposition de Notre-Dame des Ardents et du Calvaire d'Arras dans l'Art et le Folklore" (Arras, June 16 - August 1, 1935), cat. no. 155.

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund