The Gothic Ivories project is the comprehensive “home” for photos and presentations of Gothic Ivories from 1200 – c. 1500.
The production of ivory objects flourished to an extraordinary extent in the Gothic period, especially in France: delicate statuettes, minutely carved diptychs and triptychs, mirror backs and wonderful caskets with secular scenes have survived in collections around the world. The last survey of Gothic Ivories was made nearly 100 years ago in 1924. Since then, however, many more ivories have surfaced in auction houses, and private and public collections; valuable articles and catalogues have been written; scientific examination and increasing expertise have all shed more light on these exquisite objects. Today, however, it is complicated to get an overview of all these astounding pieces of delicate art. Ultimately the digital exhibition launched in 2008 will make it possible to view in one place images and detailed information on over 4,000 items scattered in over 400 collections around the world. One of the interesting qualities is the possibility to search the photo collections thematically – searching for e.g. nature scenes hunting, dresses etc.
The database is fostered and maintained by the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Recently the project hosted an event together with the Victorian & Albert Museum on “Gothic Ivory Sculpture: Old Questions, New Directions, V&A and Courtauld Institute of Art, 2012” in order to raise awareness (and further funding) of the project. The conference celebrated the recent wave of new scholarship in the field and reassess the importance of these minute carvings for the study of medieval art and it was possible to listen to scholarly presentations of some of these unique pieces of art.