Reliquary: golden silver, gems
Giovanni Francesco Frangi
height 57 cm, width 28 cm, base 15 cm
The inscription on the base reveals that Cardinal Tiberio Muti, Bishop of Viterbo in 1634, had this reliquary containing fragments of wood from Christ’s cross gilded.
The tiny Calvary with three lobed decoration on the cross ends is in Byzantine style which was common especially in France in the Gothic age. A small cross is set in the ample area where the arms meet. The vertical one is fixed on the circular base along with the Muti family arms.
This is one of the few works known by Giovanni Francesco Frangi, an artist who worked mainly in Rome. He was not influenced by Baroque art, but followed the elegant Mannerist style.
– Benedetta Montevecchi (a cura di), Sculture Preziose. Oreficeria sacra nel Lazio dal XIII al XVIII secolo, Edizioni Musei Vaticani, Città del Vaticano 2015