Florentine goldsmith, Reliquary of the Holy Apostles

Florentine goldsmith
1460, 1596 c.
Original location
Cathedral, treasure
Copper, gold
Gilding, chiselling, embossing
Height: 55 cm; Width: 23 cm; Depth: 21 cm;
Copper, gold

This reliquary, containing the relics of various Saints including the holy Apostles, is the result of the reassembly of an older reliquary (recognizable in the parts of the finely carved and cantilevered shaft and the foot with eight semicircular lobes) with a hexagonal temple with domed roof and small windows. The work as we now see it was evidently composed in the late 16th century.

Various historians have placed the date of execution of the upper part, in temple form, at around 1596, known to be the moment when the relics were placed in a lead box after recovery from the flood of 1557. Some have noted that the base and shaft of the reliquary show 15th-century stylistic characteristics and affinities with a liturgical basin from the 15th century, also preserved in the Opera del Duomo Museum. The dating of these oldest parts is corroborated by the name of the client, engraved on the central node: Niccolò Bartolini - a leading figure in Florentine political life of the mid-15th century.

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Cappella delle Reliquie