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The Medieval Body

Luhring Augustine and Sam Fogg are pleased to announce The Medieval Body, the third in a series of vanguard exhibitions that places medieval masterpieces within a contemporary context. The first two collaborative projects were met with much acclaim, Of Earth and Heaven was presented in 2018 and Gothic Spirit in 2020. Opening January 21 in Luhring Augustine’s Chelsea location, The Medieval Body will be on view through March 12, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

The title of the exhibition refers to both a literal thread of figuration that runs throughout the works in the presentation, as well as the complex and often shifting symbolism of the human body in the medieval period. For thinkers and artists of that time, the human body served as a rich source of religious and philosophical significance, one that was in a constant state of flux between idealism and disfigurement. While the early Middle Ages reserved representations of suffering bodies to the margins of their world, the later Middle Ages displayed wounded bodies in the most central spaces of public life. The crucified body of Christ and the wounded bodies of saints assumed important positions as they were displayed on altars, in processions, and on the exteriors of churches. Representative of this, The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Jörg Lederer gives prominence to the late medieval trend of displaying a suffering human body at the altar, while Saint Quentin being tormented portrays a vivid murder scene meant for the façade of a church - the gruesome episode is palpable in the intricately sculpted depiction. The intimate belief in the inextricable connection between the body and the soul, whether in life or in death, also led to the worship of saints’ body parts. The enormous sacrament houses created in late medieval Germany were meant to ostentatiously display and stage Christ’s transubstantiated body. The exhibition features a work attributed to Lorenz Lechler and dated to 1502, a rare Monumental Drawing of a Sacrament House which was designed to stand over 70 feet tall.

The Medieval Body tells a unique story about the human form as both a physical entity and a recognizable metaphor. Presenting works spanning the course of a thousand years, this exhibition offers insight into the body as an essential image-making tool with far-reaching implications for the development of art in the European Middle Ages.

Artworks Nested Slideshow

Artworks Nested Slideshow Thumbnails

Reliquary bust with a hair net, c. 1520-40
Southern Netherlands or Belgium
Polychromed wood, some minor losses to polychrome, consolidated expansion crack on the back and consolidation of minor crack on the hair net
18 1/2 x 16 1/8 x 7 7/8 inches
(47 x 41 x 20 cm)

Giovanni da Nola (1478-1559)
Effigy of Riccardo Rota (d. 1392), c. 1540-1550
Italy, Naples, Rota Chapel in San Domenico Maggiore
50 3/4 x 23 5/8 x 17 inches
(129 x 59.9 x 43.2 cm)

Paolo da Visso (active 1431-1482)
The Crucifixion, attended by a Franciscan Monk, c. 1450
Italy, Le Marche, Aschio
Tempera and gold on panel
16 1/2 x 11 7/8 x 1 inches
(41.9 x 30.2 x 2.5 cm)

Saint Quentin being tormented, c. 1420-1430
France, Picardy, Amiens (?)
Limestone with traces of early polychromy
39 3/8 x 34 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches
(100.1 x 87.1 x 22.1 cm)

Architectural monstrance with two saints, c. 1520-1530
Spain, Barcelona
Gilded silver
24 3/4 x 11 3/4 x 8 inches
(63 x 30 x 20.3 cm)

Hans Greiff (active c. 1470, d. 1516?)
A monumental lidded cup with the figure of a courtier and three soldiers, c. 1470
Germany, Bavaria, Ingolstadt
Cast, hammered, chased and gilded silver
Height: 21.7 inches (55 cm)
Diameter at widest point: 7.4 inches (18.8 cm)

A micro-architectural custodia for the display of relics, c.1450, with feet attended by small fighting men added from a late fifteenth-century structure
Northern Spain
Gilded silver with cast, hammered, chased and engraved elements with panels enamelled in green and blue glass
17 5/8 x 9 x 6 7/8 inches
(44.7 x 22.9 x 17.5 cm)

A Monumental 'Beautiful Madonna' (Schöne Madonna), c. 1420-1440
Kingdom of Bohemia
Polychromy and gilding on poplar
68 7/8 x 19 3/4 x 9 3/8 inches
(175 x 50 x 23.9 cm)

A pair of alabaster standing Apostles, carved for the high altar of Saint-Omer Cathedral, c. 1430 (probably 1429)
Southern Netherlands or Northern France
Alabaster with the original gilding largely intact
Bearded Apostle: 9.3 x 3.7 x 2.3 inches (23.7 x 9.3 x 5.8 cm)
Saint John: 9.3 x 4 x 2.32 inches (23.7 x 10.2 x 5.9 cm)

Jörg Lederer
Saint Sebastian, c. 1515-20
South Germany, Kaufbeuren
Fully polychromed and gilded limewood
45 2/3 x 30 x 15 inches
(116 x 76 x 38 cm)

Two monumental lions with carving on reverse from a 2nd century Roman triumphal arch, c. 1200- 1250
Central Italy
Metamorphic limestone; originally from the entrance to a church
Lion with carving on reverse: 22.8 x 36 x 11.8 inches (58 x 92 x 30 cm)
Lion with uncarved reverse: 23.5 x 33.5 x 11.4 inches (60 x 85 x 29 cm)

Crucified Christ, c. 1500-1520
Germany, Upper Rhine
Polychromy and gilding on wood
45 x 33 x 28 inches
(114.3 x 83.8 x 71.1 cm)

Fernando Gallego (Salamanca, 1440-1507)
Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints Andrew, John, Catherine and Eustace, c. 1480-1490
Oil and gilding on softwood panels with original split hinges and applied framing elements, imitation of porphyry on reverse
Central panel: 26.4 x 17.6 x 1 inches (67 x 44.8 x 2.8 cm)
Each wing: 26.25 x 8.75 x 1 inches (66.8 x 22.5 x 2.7 cm)

An aquamanile in the form of a lion, Early 13th century
Germany, probably Lower Saxony
Cast copper alloy with fine soldered repairs to the handle at its upper and lower connecting points; hairline fractures to the legs in two places; the hinged lid a modern replacement
6 3/4 x 9 1/8 x 2 1/8 inches
(17.1 x 22.9 x 5.5 cm)

Aquamanile in the form of a lion, c. 1350
Germany, Nuremberg
Hollow cast copper alloy
10 1/2 x 10 x 4 1/4 inches
(26.7 x 25.4 x 10.9 cm)

A cockerel, c. 1250-1300
Germany, Lower Saxony
Hollow cast, chased and tooled copper alloy, probably from a candlestick foot
3 x 1 1/4 x 4 3/4 inches
(7.6 x 3.3 x 11.9 cm)

An Aquamanile in the form of a Stag, 12th century
Scandinavia or Lower Saxony
Bronze with a black patina, in excellent condition, missing only its sprue-hole cover; possibly some lost elements on the antlers and tail
9 5/8 x 3 5/8 x 9 1/8 inches
(24.5 x 9.3 x 23.2 cm)

Lorenz Lechler (c.1460–1538) and workshop
A Monumental Drawing for a Sacrament House, c.1502
Southwestern Germany
127 x 14 3/8 inches
(323 × 36.5 cm)
A design for a colossal architectural structure estimated to have been around 70 feet tall, in ink on four joined sheets of parchment, with around some 85 drawings for sculpted figures and scenes

The Death of the Virgin, c. 1490
Germany, Lower Rhine, Kalkar
28 3/4 x 43 1/4 inches
(72.9 x 110 cm)

Italo-Byzantine column with acanthus and images of Apostles, c. 1180-1200
Italy, Venice (?)
Marble, probably from a ciborium
57 1/2 x 9 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches
(146.1 x 24.6 x 24.6 cm)

Giovanni Della Robbia (1469-1529)
Judith holding the head of Holofernes, c. 1520
Italy, Florence
Tin-glazed terracotta, inscribed in its socle 'Giuditta ebrea'
24 3/8 x 9 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches
(62 x 24.9 x 17 cm)

The Chaworth Roll: A genealogy of the kings of England tracing the royal succession from Ebgert to Henry V, with a map of roads of England and a Wheel of Fortune, 1321-27, with additions between 1399 and 1413
England, in Anglo-Norman and French
Ink and pigments on nine joined sheets of lined parchment
252 3/4 x 9 5/8 inches
(641.9 x 24.4 cm)

Master of the Chronique scandaleuse (active in Paris, c. 1493-c. 1510)
The Hours of Anne Cossart (Book of Hours, Use of Paris) in Latin and French, c. 1500
France, Paris
13 full-page miniatures, 2 large miniatures and 24 calendar miniatures very well preserved and in a rich palette of colors
6 5/8 x 4 1/2 inches
(16.8 x 11.4 cm)

The Coëtivy Master (Henri de Vulcop?) active c. 1450-1485
A Book of Hours, for the Use of Paris, in Latin and French, c. 1470s
France, Paris or the Loire Valley
Illuminated manuscript with ink, pigments and gold leaf on vellum, in a late sixteenth-century Parisian dark brown morocco binding gilt a la fanfare, 288 leaves richly illuminated with 9 full-page miniatures and 9 historiated initials
4 3/8 x 3 1/4 inches
(11.2 x 8.1 cm)

Hakob Jughayets'i (c. 1550-1613)
The Pozzi Gospels, Dated 1586
Armenia, Keghi
Paper with blind-stamped brown leather binding; 403 folios with 46 full-age illuminations and numerous marginal miniatures
7 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches
(19.8 x 14.5 cm)

Manuscript leaf with two scenes: a couple discussing legalities with lawyers, and two lovers in a bed, c. 1320
Southern France, Toulouse (?)
Ink, pigments and gilding on parchment, from a copy of Gratian's Decretals
16 3/4 x 11 3/8 inches
(42.4 x 29 cm)

Manuscript leaf with two scenes: lawyers petitioning a seated pope and men petitioning a seated lawyer from a Decretum Gratiani, c. 1320
Southern France, Toulouse (?)
Manuscript on parchment
16 3/4 x 11 3/8 inches
(42.4 x 29 cm)

The Berkeley Purse; Opus Anglicanum: The Crucifixion and The Coronation of the Virgin, c. 1320-1330
Embroidery of silver-gilt thread and coloured silks on linen
Coronation: 10 x 10.1 inches (25.1 x 25.9 cm)
Crucifixion: 9.7 x 10.2 inches (24.7 x 26 cm)

A large cameo of a lion from the court of Frederick II, c. 1230
Southern Italy
Sardonyx cameo in a modern gold ring setting on a white paper backing; a small sardonyx repair to the upper left corner behind the animal’s haunches
5/8 x 7/8 inches
(1.7 x 2.3 cm)

An onyx cameo of King René of Anjou (1409-1480), c. 1470
Onyx cameo set in a modern gold ring, impeccable condition
3/4 x 3/4 inches
(2 x 1.8 cm)

Cameo of the Virgin in Mourning, c. 1450-1470
Agate cameo framed by a historic gold pendant, in good condition with a delicate hairline crack across the bottom
1 x 5/8 inches
(2.5 x 1.7 cm)

A reliquary chasse showing the Journey and Adoration of the Magi, c. 1230
France, Limoges
Cast, chased, engraved and gilded copper with champlevé enamel, attached to a modern wooden core covered with pale red velvet lacking its pile
6 1/4 x 7 1/8 x 2 3/4 inches
(15.9 x 17.8 x 7 cm)

A reliquary chasse showing Christ in Majesty, c. 1200
France, Limoges
Copper alloy with gilding and champlevé enamel over a replaced but early oak core, with ironwork hinges
6 1/4 x 8 x 3 1/2 inches
(16 x 20.2 x 9 cm)

Repoussé silver bowl with Psalm 27, c. 1400
Byzantium or Russia, Yekaterinburg, province of Perm, from the Great Monastery of Pimyke

Christ on the Cross, c. 1190-1210
France, Limoges
Cast, chased, engraved and gilded copper with champlevé enamel
11 3/4 x 7 3/8 inches
(29.8 x 18.7 cm)

A gable plaque from a reliquary chasse showing a standing Apostle, c. 1190
France, Limoges, from the so-called Chapitre Workshop
Gilded, chased, and engraved copper with champlevé enamel in blue, red, green, black, white and yellow
4 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches
(11.3 x 7.1 cm)

Head of an African King, c. 1120-1150
Southern France
Limestone, probably from a church portal
12 5/8 x 7 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
(32 x 19.1 x 21.6 cm)

A group of Merovingian brooches from the collection of the Comtesse de Behague (1870-1939), c. 580-600
Garnet brooches: 1.6 in (4 cm) (diameter); gold, garnet, cement, copper alloy
Disk brooch: 1.7 in (4.4 cm) (diameter); gold, cement, copper alloy
Bird brooches: 1.3 x .7 in (3.3 x 1.8 cm); silver, gilding, garnet

A cup with lions’ heads emitting flowering rinceaux, c. 1180
Cast, chased, gilded and tooled silver with inlaid blue glass eyes
2 1/2 x 5 7/8 x 5 7/8 inches
(6.3 x 15 x 15 cm)

A belt buckle inlaid with garnet and glass, c. 540- 560
Visigothic Spain
Copper alloy with garnets, glass and cuttlefish bone supported by gold foils
5 1/4 x 2 3/8 x 1 inches
(13.5 x 6.1 x 2.5 cm)

Jaume Cascalls
A mourner, most likely from the royal pantheon at Poblet, c. 1365-1380
Catalonia, Barcelona
Veined alabaster with traces of a calcite ground layer and ochre polychromy; a fragment from a larger relief
5 5/8 x 5 x 2 inches
(14.3 x 12.7 x 5.1 cm)

Installation Views

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The Medieval Body

The Medieval Body
Presented in conjunction with Sam Fogg
Luhring Augustine Chelsea
January 21 – March 12, 2022


For information on the exhibition, please contact Leah Horowitz at or Dr. Jana Gajdošová at

For press requests, please contact Caroline Burghardt at

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