Portable Altar of Countess Gertrude, side panel
Original Country
Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony)
Sorting Title
Portable Altar of Countess Gertrude, side panel

The figural and enamel decoration on all four sides of the altar is well preserved. Framed by a boarder of gold filigree, gems, and pearls, the main decoration consists of four friezes of gold repousee figures. Each figure stands under an arch. Pictured is the side panel. Here, an enamel cross is located at the center with the Emperor Constantine, his mother Helena, the Burgundian king Sigismund and the Ottonian empress Adelheid stand on either side of the cross. Their names are inscribed upon the nielloed arches under which they stand.

Creation Date
Style Genre
Altar and reliquary
Work Type
reference work
Format Medium

Gold, cloisonne enamel, red porphyry, gems, pearls, niello, oak

Original Location

The altar was destined for the collegiate church of St. Blaise, which Count Liudolf (d. 1038) and his wife Gertrude (d. 1077) founded in the precinct of their castle in Brunswick. This church would serve as the burial place of the count and his family.

Patrons and Others

Countess Gertrude of Brunswick (d. 1077), wife of Count Liudolf, commissioned this work and dedicated it to St. Blaise.


This object is part of the Guelph Treasure, one of the largest ecclesiastical treasures to survive from medieval Germany. The treasure has been associated with the Guelph dynasty since the 12th c.. Several of its objects were commissioned by Gertrude.

For a detailed account the history of the Guelf Treasure, see Splendor and Devotion: The Rise of Luxury Arts.

Descriptive Notes

The altar contains relics, including those of saints Bartholomew, Adelheid, Hermes, Gertrude, Marcian, Vincent, and others.

Current Repository

Cleveland Museum of Art

Repository Number
CMA 1931.462
Photo Credit
Kornbluth Photography


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Contact: Genevra Kornbluth
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Image of Portable Altar of Countess Gertrude, side panel.