Antonio di Salvi, Reliquary of Saint Anthony Abbot

Antonio di Salvi
Original location
Cathedral, Chapel of Saint Victor
Silver, gold, copper, enamel, wood
Casting, painting, gilding, embossing, engraving, chiselling
Height: 108 cm; Width: 42,7 cm; Depth: 41,5 cm;
Silver, gold, copper, enamel, wood

This reliquary, made by Antonio di Salvi in 1511-1514, contains the relics of St. Louis of France, St. Sebastian and St. Anthony Abbot. The main structures are in gilded and enameled copper and silver, while the foot is in gilded wood. The truncated cone of the base rises to a short stem, with the reliquary body taking the shape of a temple in central plan, marked by arches and buttresses and decorated with enamels with figures of saints. Topping the onion dome is a statuette of Saint Anthony the Abbot, with his pastoral staff and a book.

The reliquary was commissioned by the representatives of the party of Guelphs, for the adornment of their chapel in the Cathedral. The Guelphs had vowed devotion to Saint Victor in the event of their victory at the battle of Cascina, and this chapel is therefore consecrated to his name, but also to Anthony the Abbot: in fact, after the rebellion of the workers without guild, known as Ciompi, the government of the Guelphs returned on January 17, day of liturgical memory of this saint. The reliquary was kept in the Cathedral until 1954.

The motivation for the reliquary therefore reflects a mixture of devotional and historical-political reasons, and this explains the presence of the coats of arms of Guelph Florence on the foot, and of their Patron Saints in the upper part.

Discover the other artworks

Cappella delle Reliquie