Altar frontal showing Peter finds the Tribute-money



One of three panels in a series made for the Archbishop of Magdeburg, the others being M8061 and M8017. Sixteen of the series survive and two others are known from an early 16th century drawing. It is believed the ivory panels may have constituted an altar-frontal, hence the conventional name 'Magdeburg antependium'. By the mid-11th century the panels were being detached and re-used. The scene shows Peter finding the Tribute-money: Christ, with a nimbed halo, barefoot, with a scroll in his left hand, touches St Peter on the shoulder. Peter breaks open the jaws of the fish that he has just caught with his rod and line, and removes the coin from its mouth. Seven disciples look on, the leader pressing on Christ, and two others being shown half-profile (left) and head-on (right). All five leading figures have drilled eyes the background à jour squares with bevelled corners, forming a pattern of crosses slightly taller than they are broad. Provenance: Hallesches Heiltum c. 1520; Possenti collection, Fabriano c.1820; Joseph Mayer by 1855.