French / Casket with Scenes from Romances / 14th centuryFrench
Casket with Scenes from Romances
14th century

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Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Name-CRT: French
Title: Casket with Scenes from Romances
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1300
Creation End Date: 1399
Creation Date: 14th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ivories
Materials and Techniques: ivory
Dimensions: 3 15/16 x 9 13/16 in. (10 x 24.9 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 17.190.173ab
Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the Middle Ages is one of the most imposing examples to survive. The lid represents the assault on the metaphorical fortress, Castle of Love, with a tournament and knights catapulting roses. The left end depicts Tristan and Isolde spied upon by King Mark, and a hunter killing a unicorn trapped by a virgin. The right end shows a knight rescuing a lady from the Wildman (Wodehouse), and Galahad receiving the key to the castle of maidens. At the back are Lancelot and the lion, Lancelot crossing the sword bridge, Gawain asleep on the magic bed, and the maidens welcoming their deliverer. The newly discovered front panel (1988.16), lost since before 1800, is a poignant depiction of the love tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe (two scenes at right) and Aristotle teaching Alexander the Great and Phyllis riding on the back of Aristotle (two scenes at left).

AMICA ID: MMA_.17.190.173ab
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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