Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, known as the “Reider-panel”
Rome or Milan, c. 400
H. 18.7 cm
Acquired with the collection of Martin Joseph von Reider, Bamberg, in 1860
Inv. No. MA 157
This relief is undisputedly considered the best work in ivory surviving from Late Antiquity. With utmost virtuosity, the artist explores the limits of what was technically possible at the time. Although the panel is only 6 to 7 millimetres thick, the branches of the olive tree are undercut and stand freely on the wafer-thin background. The relief provides one of the earliest depictions of the resurrection of Christ. The angel sits in front of a tomb in Roman style. Equally singular is the scene of God's hand pulling Christ into heaven; at his feet, the apostles are blinded by the light. The ivory relief is named after the collector who in the 19th century preserved it for posterity.