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The Resurrection, from an Embroidered Altar Frontal:

The Resurrection, from an Embroidered Altar Frontal:

1375-1400

Silk, gold and cotton thread, linen; raised work, embroidery: split, stem, and couching stitches

Overall: 28.9 x 41.9 cm (11 3/8 x 16 1/2 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1929.904

Description

This scene of the Resurrection, along with 11 additional embroideries of the life of Christ, must have formed a spectacular altar frontal when the original expensive gold thread covered the background. Removed and probably melted down for its monetary value, gold thread covered the padded vines, which resembled raised plaster decoration, or gesso, used in paintings. The loss exposes a rarely seen preparatory drawing in sepia ink and wash by an unidentified painter. In addition to bits of gold thread, what does survive is of the highest quality and refinement, including more than 20 brilliant shades of silk thread.

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