Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Artist Unidentified (French)


Ivory Diptych

Creation Date

ca. 1300-1325


early 14th century


3 3/16 in. x 4 11/16 in. x 1/2 in. (8.1 cm x 11.91 cm x 1.27 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, France

Medium and Support

traces of paint on ivory

Credit Line

Museum Purchase


Public Domain

Accession Number

Ivory was a popular material in the later Middle Ages, often used for images of the Virgin Mary and for small devotional works, like this two-paneled item, known as a diptych. Such works were held in the hands and gazed at in moments o In the later Middle Ages, panel painting took on a prominent role, and Christian subject matter remained popular. In this piece, painted by someone familiar with the work of Hans Memling, the artist has shown off the skills needed to create rich textures and surfaces that almost fool the eye into thinking they are real. The painter also demonstrated a knowledge of the ancient sculpture of Rome and luxurious imported textiles. f personal prayer. Items like this were often carved in specialized workshops in Paris, but the elephant ivory was imported from Africa.

Additional Media

Additional Image reverse

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