Reliquary of Saints Cyprian and Justina

Reliquary of Saints Cyprian and Justina, wood and partially gilded silver, circa 1001 (inv. oreficerie 8)

Location: Rocchetta, 2nd floor, Room XXXII

The small chest is a fine example of the level of skill reached by Lombard goldsmiths in the 11th century. A rectangular box with its gabled lid, has a wooden core and is covered with six partially gilded, embossed and chiselled silver plates.
The larger sides are decorated with scenes of the Martyrdom of Saints Cyprian and Justina and a Traditio Legis et Clavium, while on the smaller sides are represented two female figures, one of which/whom is seated on a throne, and the Beheading of St. Cyprian. The lid is adorned with the Lamb of God (representing Christ) between angels and a bishop among Saints. The iconography reveals a careful balance between the celebration of the life and martyrdom of the two saints and that of the role of the Church, recalled in the presentation of the Keys to St. Peter and the Law to St. Paul.  
It seems likely that the chest was conceived as a reliquary of Saint Justina, the relics of whom were taken from Rome to the Cathedral of Piacenza in 1001. The exceptional quality of the reliquary can be appreciated in the chromatic variations and the skilfully created drapery.
The chest belonged to the Luigi Alberico Trivulzio collection and entered the Civic holdings in 1953.