Goldsmith's Models with Symbols of the Evangelists
early 16th century
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Each of these small, round boxwood dies displays one of the four beasts of Revelation within a quatrefoil frame. In his account of the apocalypse, John of Patmos saw four creatures surrounding and worshiping God: a winged man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. These beasts became symbols of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, respectively. The circular reliefs probably served as molds over which metal could be hammered to create adornments for religious objects. The four ornaments would have probably surrounded a central image of Christ in Majesty.