(active second half 14th century in Utrecht)

Reliquary Bust of St Frederick

Parcel-gilt silver, height 45 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The bust of St Frederick is the earliest surviving piece of signed Netherlandish metalwork from the Gothic period. It was made to hold pieces of the skull of St Frederick, the eighth bishop of Utrecht, who was murdered in 838. His tomb in St Salvator (Old Minster) in Utrecht was refurbished in the 14th century, and Elyas Scerpswert, a leading goldsmith was commissioned to make a reliquary.

The decidedly realistic appearance of the saint's face is noteworthy among other remarkable stylistic features.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.