National Treasures

Episcopal Crosier

Antonio Arrighi (goldsmith)


Cast silver, chiselled; gilded

Inventory sheet

This crosier comes from a set of pieces belonging to Friar José Maria da Fonseca Évora (Bishop of Porto, 1741-1752). A payment record, dated 10th January 1740, documents its execution in the workshop of the famous Italian goldsmith Antonio Arrighi. Its identification in a portrait of Friar José da Fonseca e Évora led to the origin of the commission being traced back to him.

The crosier is a staff given to a Catholic bishop at his consecration ceremony, surmounted by a curvilinear decorative motif called a crook. It is an object of highly symbolic value, testifying to the power, wealth and importance of the person who commissioned and possessed it.

Throughout the 18th century, the Portuguese court was one of great refinement and splendour. The Church, reflecting that spirit, surrounded itself with precious religious objects, mostly commissioned from Italian goldsmiths, as in the case of this crosier, by the goldsmith, Antonio Arrighi (1687-1776).

The piece, from the former Porto Episcopal Palace, has been part of the Soares dos Reis National Museum collection since 1932.