Six Altar Crosses from the Sixteenth Century

Liturgical metalwork frequently takes a back seat in popular interest to items such as sacred vestments, but alongside vestments, the ornaments of the altar such as candlesticks, cross, thurible can be amongst some of the most significant in setting the 'tone' of the sacred liturgy -- particularly where altar candlesticks and cross are concerned.  I say metalwork, but it should be noted that in many places which were not able to afford metal candlesticks and cross, gilt wood was another option.  Our examples today, however, are all metalwork and all come from the 1500's.  I have selected examples which prevent some different stylistic approaches, ranging from your typical budded crosses to those of a slightly more medieval character. The sixteenth century always reflects a kind of rubicon between the gothic period and the forthcoming tastes of the baroque in the seventeenth century and, as such, one will frequently elements that crossover -- or what in modern terms we might think of as "fusion."

Each of the examples included here are beautiful in both design and their overall proportions and they would be as befitting an altar ornament today as they were when they were first crafted. Enjoy. 

ca. 1550-1600

Trent, 16th Century

Venice, 1575-1590

ca. 1490-1510

ca. 1500-1550

ca, 1500-1600 (base is 19th century)

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