Byzantine, Saint Peter, 12th century, Cloisonné enamel and gold; 10.2 x 4.6 cm (4 x 1 13/16 inches), Anonymous gift 30.013
This small image of Saint Peter was made to decorate a book cover or a box holding sacred relics. The figure is composed with the clarity and concision of a manuscript illumination, demonstrating in miniature the flattened, frontal attributes of Byzantine representation. The bearded saint, whose holiness is indicated by a green and red halo, stands with his right hand outstretched and a scroll in his left. He wears a gray tunic under a dark blue stole that is decorated with a yellow and red border. In the cloisonné enamel technique, each colored area is outlined by fine wires attached to the metal support. Colored glass paste is then placed in each section and fired to create a brilliant surface whose jewel-like effect mimics precious stones.