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Baptismal Font with Symbols of the Four Evangelists and Four Angels

1100-1199
26 3/4 x 31 1/2 in. (67.9 x 80 cm)

Unknown, North Italian
Italian

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Limestone
Credit Line: R. T. Miller Fund
Accession Number: 1949.5
Location: Currently on view
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A baptismal font is a basin that serves as a vessel for the water used in the religious ceremony of Christian baptism, or initiation. This font is decorated with the symbols of the four evangelists, the writers of the Gospel books of the New Testament. The angel represents Saint Matthew; the lion, Saint Mark; the ox, Saint Luke; and the eagle, Saint John. According to Christian tradition, the four Evangelists are also equated with the four rivers of Eden that spring from the Fountain of Life, a concept fitting to the sacred water and spiritual birth associated with the ritual of Christian baptism.

[Gallery label text, June 2013]

Provenance
Bardini Collection, Florence; Brummer Gallery, New York; purchased from them by the Gallery in 1949

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