Pietro Cerluzi, Reliquary of the jaw of the Baptist

Pietro Cerluzi
Original location
Baptistery of Saint John, treasure
Bronze, silver, rock crystal, wood
Casting, chasing, gilding, embossing, punching, engraving, intaglio
Height: 101 cm; Width: 31 cm; Depth: 31 cm;
Bronze, silver, rock crystal, wood

Reliquary made by Pietro Cerluzi in 1564 in silver and copper, shaped as a small temple with a cup base, coupled columns and statuette of the apical Baptist, on a shaft decorated with podded knots and hexagonal foot. It preserves the relic of the jaw of Saint Joh the Baptist, the most important of those donated in 1397 by the Venetian noblewoman Nicoletta Grioni to the Art of Calimala, then to the Baptistery. All those relics came from Byzantium, because Grioni was the widow of the Florentine Antonio di Pietro Torrigiani, whose father-in-law had been secretary of the Eastern Emperor John VI Cantacuzeno for some years. In 1564 the Grand Duke Cosimo I commissioned the present refined reliquary for this relic, which had hitherto been contained in a box in the altar of the Baptistery.

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