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Goldsmith’s Art

The Dorothy or Offenburg monstrance from the treasury of Basle Munster

Key data

Basle, 1430/40

Silver, cast, embossed, parcel gilt, with paste and semi precious stones

height 55 cm

Inv. 1882.81.

Description

A small door on the simple reverse reveals that the monstrance was originally a reliquary. The red niello coat of arms which is riveted to the door suggests that it was the gift of the Oberstzunftmeister (chief guild master) Hermann Offenburg of Basle. The restrained gilding on the front of this slender object creates a charming effect; the embossed figure of St Dorothy in her lavishly draped garments, hand in hand with the naked Christchild, appears to float in the mandorla. The impression of preciousness is enhanced by the paste jewels, semi precious stones and antique gem set around the saint and, finally, by the cameo at her feet. The Gothic crockets seem to frame the almond shaped setting like tongues of flame. In contrast the support, consisting of an eight lobed foot, smooth shaft and a knop resembling bundled rods, is somewhat soberly treated.

Selection of similar objects

 
Contact

Basel Historical Museum
Management & administration
Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00
historisches.museum(at)bs.ch

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