Beaten from silver, this shallow dish was likely used for the presentation of holy communion. It is adorned on the interior with the image of Christ flanked by Saints Peter and Paul, with the details of their cloaks, shoes, haloes and the attributes they hold picked out in gilt. The image of Christ flanked by Peter and Paul, his foremost Apostles, is dominant in Christian iconography from early times. Together, they symbolise the pillars of the Church and were considered the founders of the Church in Rome due to their apostolic preaching, ministry and martyrdom in that city. Just as the sacrifice of Christ gave life to men, so the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul were used by God to lay the foundation for the Church and bring everlasting salvation.
The saints are depicted with their typical attributes; the book carried by Paul represents his epistles in the New Testament of the Bible, whilst Peter carries the Keys of Heaven, which were given to him by Jesus, as it is written in the Gospel of Matthew 16:19, ‘I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven.’
Private collection, UK, inherited 1973.
Private collection, UK, 2012.