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Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtumer des Heils
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Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtumer des Heils

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Description The Schatzbehalter des wahren Reichtümer des Heils (Treasury of the true riches of salvation) is a devotional text written by Stephan Fridolin and published by Anton Koberger in Nuremberg in 1491. Fridolin was a Franciscan monk who served as the lector and preacher in the monastery of his order in Nuremberg, and from 1479 until his death in 1498 as confessor to the Poor Clares in the same city. Like many other late medieval devotional texts, the Schatzbehalter, one of Fridolin’s treatises concerning the spiritual welfare of his contemporaries, builds his work around the theme of the Passion of Christ. Fridolin called his book a “shrine” or “chest” containing one hundred meditations on the “true treasures,” that is, images of the Savior’s suffering that caused mankind to be saved. The series begins and ends with the representation of a pair of hands that serve as mnemonic devices. The first pair of hands is marked with numbers that refer to individual meditations in the book — one through fifty on the left hand and fifty-one through hundred on the right. These images enabled readers to memorize one hundred themes according to specific numbers and loci on the depicted hand. The second pair of hands presents small busts of saintly figures on the ten fingers. The twelve apostles occupy the left hand, while another twelve saints, including the Evangelists, John the Baptist, and Joseph, are depicted on the right. Each figure is numbered and captioned with the saint’s name. With this image, the reader was supposed to commit to memory the twelve articles of the Apostles’ Creed shown as a column next to the left hand. Both thumbs feature paired Christ and Mary, but in contrasting representations: the Man of Sorrows and the mourning Mother “in the state of mortal life” on the left, and the Heavenly King and Queen “in the state of eternal life and absolute bliss.” According to Fridolin, juxtaposing antithetical objects also facilitated a deeper understanding of their meaning. For this reason, he bracketed each meditation with two contrasting articles dealing, respectively, with the virtue and the suffering of Christ in his Passion. The contrasting images of Christ and Mary were in the same vein, helping the devout remember the Passion.
  • Book Arts in the Age of Durer. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 2000-2001.
  • The Christmas Story: Picturing the Birth of Christ in Medieval Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009-2010.
  • Paradise Imagined: Images of the Garden in the Islamic and Christian World. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2012.
  • The Art of Empathy: The Cummer Mother of Sorrows in Context. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville. 2013-2014.
  • A Feast for the Senses: Art and Experience in Medieval Europe. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota. 2016-2017.
Provenance Julius Vandenpeereboom [1843-1917], Brussels. Acquired by Henry Walters, Baltimore; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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ink and paint on paper
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Overall: H: 14 3/16 × W: 10 1/16 × D: 3 11/16 in. (36 × 25.6 × 9.4 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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