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John the Baptist’s Tooth is in Baltimore

  • Arm Reliquary of the Apostles, German (Lower Saxony), ca. 1190, Silver gilt over oak, champlevé enamel, 51 x 14 x 9.2 cm, The Cleveland Museum of ArtWould you believe that John the Baptist's tooth (see image below), the arm of Saint George and the head of Saint Sebastian are currently in Baltimore?


    Right. We don’t quite believe it, either.

    But such grisly relics are being touted as part of a stunningly rich exhibition at the Walters Art Museum that brings together tantalizing mementos of Christian saints and holy persons – either their supposed body parts or items associated with their lives. The wall labels don’t doubt their authenticity, but it’s not the actual or alleged relics that matter so much as their containers and the art that embellishes them: the 130 golden sculptures, jewel-encrusted and enameled boxes and crosses, paintings and illuminated manuscripts that make up “Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe,” on view until May 15.

    My review is in The Washington Post. To continue reading this article...


     


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