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20 North Main St (also enter on 224 Benefit Street) Providence, RI 02903

Open today
10am–5pm

RISD
MUSEUM

Art & Design

On View

Italian

Grille

Unknown artist, Italian
Grille, ca.1130-1300
Iron
Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr. 38.018

  • Finely wrought grilles, which first appeared as church furnishings in the early 12th century, were used to screen off side chapels, reliquaries, and tombs. A hinge-like segment that is welded to the top left corner of this grille indicates that it functioned as a gate connected to a larger enclosure. The intricate pattern, which suggests a Tree of Life, would have been formed by a blacksmith using a chisel to cut slivers from the sides of square-sectioned iron rods, then bending them back in several turns to form scrolls. Attached to individual stems along with smaller tendrils, pairs of scrolls were collared to one another and used to fill the rectangular format of the grille.


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