Date: Circa 1666
The name Agnus Dei makes reference to certain wax discs with the figure of a Lamb impressed upon them which were consecrated by the Pope in special ceremonies. These discs are often round and sometimes oval-shaped. The figure is generally holding a cross or papal flag, and the reverse side tends to feature saints or other religious scenes.
Agnus Dei were used as items of devotion, hung around necks or left in shrines for adoracion. They were often gifted by the Pope to famous people of the era.
The item in question is of the oval-shaped variety and is housed in an iron case with two panes of glass from the era on either side. Pope Alexander VII (1655 – 1667) was a notable pontiff, vocal supporter of the Jesuits as well as fierce advocate of the arts and literature.
This Agnus Dei’s significance comes from the fact that it was sculpted by famous sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 – 1680) who also carried out other distinguished works for this same Pope. The impression was made by Bernini and cast into wax for the Agnus Dei ceremonies of Pope Alexander VII.