The Special Dead: A Medieval Reliquary Revealed

August 02, 2008–January 18, 2009

Human beings treasure the mementos of the dead whom they have loved. With the advent of Christianity, the followers who died for God or lived according to His principles were given special status as saints. Their remains were thought to unite heaven and earth.

The works of art made to contain saintly bodies, known as reliquaries, played a fundamental role in communicating holiness for audiences of medieval pilgrims and the faithful. Using both art historical and technical research, this experimental installation—which is part of a larger exhibition project planned at the Walters for the spring of 2011—will focus on the 13th-century reliquary shrine of St. Amandus.