Virgin and Child with Clerics and Donors
Pierre Reymond, French, Virgin and Child with Clerics and Donors, 1534, Enamel on copper; 12.9 x 10.7 cm (5 1/8 x 4 3/16 inches), Mary B. Jackson Fund 34.024
A band of text at the top of this plaque proclaims the Virgin and Child as intercessors for the clerics and donors who kneel at their feet. As with the stained glass roundel nearby, the central image would have been adapted from a print source such as an engraving, but the composition is personalized by the representation of the religious community associated with the commission. Enameled plaques were luxury goods whose production in France was restricted to guild masters appointed by royal edict. In Limoges these guilds had perfected a technique of enamel painting in which colors were applied and fired without being separated by wires. The process entails the fusing of colors made of silica and metallic carbonate or oxide to a metal support such as copper, resulting in a hard, brilliant, fade-resistant surface.