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Silver and Sanctified Bookkeeping: St. Eligius and the Smelting of Sin in the Wittenberg Heiligtum

Stephanie Lebas Huber

Online veröffentlicht:

01 Sep 2017



This article examines Lucas Cranach’s renderings of two non-extant silver gilt reliquaries made in the likeness of St. Eligius from the electoral Heiligtu. in Wittenberg. The significance of Eligius’s dual roles as both a metalworker for the Merovingian kings and as the bishop of Noyon bestowed the prince-electors in Wittenberg, most notably Frederick the Wise, with the ability to cleanse their treasury of all sin associated with indulgences. To explain the prominent place given to Eligius’s image in the collection, the article investigates his connection to French royalty, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV’s valorization of his cult, the meaning attributed to his image in vernacular legends, and the evolving administrative role of bishops across the Middle Ages.

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