St. Simeon’s Chest


Original: Zadar, St. Simeon’s Church
Goldsmith: Franciscus of Milan, 1377-1380
Gold-plated silver embossed metal sheet on wooden base
127 x 192 x 62.5 cm

The Chest was made for the body of St. Simeon, the biblical prophet who had held baby Jesus in his arms (Luke 2:25-35), and who had been honoured in Zadar since 13th century. It was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth Kotromanić, the wife of the Croatian and Hungarian King Louis of Anjou, and made by the goldsmith Franciscus of Milan and his associates in the period between 1377 and 1380. The Chest is in the form of sarcophagus with the gabled roof, the front side of which shows the saint’s reclining figure in embossment (high relief). On the other sides, 13 differing figurative compositions are presented, mostly showing the saint’s miracles. The central composition shows The Presentation in the Temple; it was made after the drawing reproducing the famous Giotto fresco from Padua.

The copy of St. Simeon’s Chest was made by Teodor Krivak-Klaužer (1900-1980), a pupil of Ivo Kerdić’s and one of Croatia’s first-class master engravers. The Chest is of silver (approx. 240 kg) and gold (in quantities equalling the original), made using the method of embossment (high relief). It represents a masterpiece of the reproductive sculptural art. The Chest was exhibited at the “Gold and Silver of Zadar” exhibition (Zagreb, 1951).