Rainer of Huy


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Mosan metalworker active in the early 12th century. Nothing is known of his life, but in a 14th-century chronicle he is credited with one of the great masterpieces of his period—a bronze font (1107–18) originally made for Notre-Dame des Fonts, Liège, and now in St Bartholomew, Liège. It is a large bowl supported on ten (originally twelve) oxen (a reference to the ‘sea of cast metal…mounted on twelve oxen’ made for King Solomon (1 Kings 7: 23–5) and adorned with scenes appropriate to the sacrament of baptism. The figures are much more naturalistic and classical than in most Romanesque art. Very little other work can be attributed to Rainer or his workshop, but his masterpiece had great influence on Mosan art. It has recently been suggested, however, that he is more or less a mythical figure and that the font was made in the imperial foundry in Constantinople.

Subjects: Art.

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