Sunday, January 18, 2015

An Antique Monstrance from the Duomo of Milan

The website of the Milan Cathedral Museum has just posted this photograph of a beautiful 15th-century monstrance.

The Italian version of the article is titled “Un antico intreccio di preziosità”, which has been rather oddly mistranslated in the English version as “An ancient twine of preciosity.” A better version would be “an antique work of varied precious materials.” Its date is uncertain, from roughly 1435 to the end of the 15th century; the vegetable motif in the stem is reminiscent of some of Leonardo Da Vinci’s architectural work. It may have been created as a drinking cup, and later transformed into a monstrance after it had been donated to the cathedral. The article on the website correctly notes that it is different from the more classically Roman form of monstrance, but this is not a particular feature of the Ambrosian tradition; monstrances of this kind were fairly common before the Counter-Reformation era.

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