Description The painted and gilded oval wax imprint showing the Last Supper is covered with glass and surrounded by a golden frame created through the sophisticated technique of reverse painting on glass. The wax image is part of a double-sided medallion of the type known as Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), after the representation now forming the back of the piece. Such double-sided wax medallions showing the Lamb of God on the front and saints or biblical scenes on the back were made from the wax of the Easter Paschal candle and imprinted with the name and the coat of arms of the pope, who blessed them. As such, the Agnus Dei medallions were believed to have protective properties and ward off evil of all kinds. The inscriptions on this medallion identify the pope as Gregory XIII (1572-1585) and indicate that the Agnus Dei was made from the Easter candle of his first year as pope, dating the wax medallion to 1573. The frame has certainly been added later. Usually, Agnus Dei medallions are mounted with the Lamb of God in the front; in this case, the representation of the Last Supper has been chosen and framed like an image, relegating the Lamb to the back.
Provenance From the Cathedral of Auch in southwestern France [note in pencil on the back of the frame, 19th century (?)]; William T. / Henry Walters, Baltimore, before 1931 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Inscription] Last Supper medallion (front) around the edge: EGO CVM ILLO IPSE MECVM GREGO[rius] XIII P[ontifex]; In smaller letters on the curved bench: ANNO PRIMO [Inscription] Agnus Dei medallion (back) around the upper edge: ECCE A[GNUS] DEI QVI TOLLIT PEC[CATA] MVN[DI]; Around lower edge, framing coat of arms: ANNO PRIMO; In main field below lamb: GRE[gorius] XIII P[ontifex] M[aximus] [Inscription] On the frame, reverse painting on glass: IN CELESTIBVS REGNIS SANCTORVM HABITACIO EST ET IN ETERNVN [sic] REQVIES EORVN [sic] ALLELVIA
Credit Acquired before 1931
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