Neopolitan Pentecost Antependium from 1731

If you think you've seen metallic antependia before, you may want to take a second look at this stunning example that was gifted by the Kingdon of Naples to the Custodia of the Holy Land in 1731. This Neopolitan frontal is set in gold and silver and includes a level of sculptural detail generally reserved for sculpture proper.

The primary theme of this frontal is Pentecost with the central portion depicting the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and disciplies. From the Terra Sancta Museum:
As on the stage in a theatre, framed by a cloth enveloped by the lateral columns, we see the descent of the Holy Spirit on to the Apostles and the Virgin Mary, gathered in a majestic room with a portico looking on to a garden. Expressions of surprise and bewilderment dominate them all, when they realize that they can “can speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts of the Apostles, 2:4) 
Here is a slightly closer look at the Pentecost depiction which forms the core of the piece:

However, to get a true sense of just what we are dealing with here quality wise, readers really need to see the following angles which will show you these are no mere relief sculptures:

In addition to the Pentecost scene, two saints in niches are also found on the frontal: St. Louis of Anjou and St. Bonaventure:

Finally, we conclude with a detail of one of the cherubs found on the piece.

Of course in addition to these figurative details, there are also various other ornamental details ranging from architectural components to decorative filigree. A truly stunning piece of work. 

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