Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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PENDANT WITH THE ANNUNCIATION MINIATURES BY VALERIO MARUCELLI (1563–1626)

Italy, c. 1620

Gold, enamel, crystal, oil on copper

  • 72.200 €
  • £63,000
  • $85,000
  • PENDANT WITH THE ANNUNCIATION MINIATURES BY VALERIO MARUCELLI (1563–1626)

    Italy, c. 1620
    Gold, enamel, crystal, oil on copper
    Weight 36.2 grams; dimensions 60 × 44 × 13 mm (with loop)

    Description
    Double-sided pendant with oval miniatures in oil on copper set in a gold and opaque white-enameled surround under crystal. The miniatures depict the Virgin of the Santissima Annunziata and the Angel Gabriel on blue backgrounds. Openwork gold frame with translucent blue strapwork alternating with opaque white flowers, translucent green foliage, and red globule-like fruits. Green enameled pedestal for gold pendant loop and ring.

    Comparisons and Literature
    The miniatures in this pendant are copies of the heads of the Virgin and the Angel Gabriel in the Annunciation fresco in the Santissima Annunziata church in Florence. Replicas were painted by Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) and his son Cristofano Allori (1577-1621). In her detailed research in the archives of Florence, Lisa Goldenberg-Stoppato attributed these miniatures to the Florentine artist Valerio Marucelli, active in Florence at the end of the sixteenth/beginning of the seventeenth century. Archival sources refer to this artist as working for the Medici family and specializing in miniatures of famous works of art. Nearly forty different miniatures painted by him are mentioned in the inventories and account books of the Galleria dei Lavori (in the Uffizi and the registers of the Guardaroba). Goldenberg-Stoppato has identified the miniatures with a reference in the inventory of the Medici Guardaroba of 8 November 1618, when they were delivered to Cosimo II. This type of openwork enamel frame can be found on pendants, often with images of the Virgin, in the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid (Arbeteta Mira 2003, no. 60) and in the Museo Cerralbo (exh. cat., La Joyería Española 1998, no. 83).

    Reference number: 78018

  • Renaissance & Baroque

    Considerable evidence exists concerning the making and wearing of rings in the Renaissance. Their appearance in painted portraits confirms that they continued to be worn on multiple fingers, suspended from chains and ribbons, sewn onto sleeves or hats, and so forth. When not worn they were sometimes stored on parchment rolls or in neatly compartmentalized boxes, known from documents and paintings. In the Renaissance, the medieval practice of using uncut stones was abandoned in favor of faceting; table-cut facets were among the earliest and most popular, but other cuts rapidly followed. Making rings that would show off best the qualities of the stone became a skill that exercised the virtuosity of cutters, chasers, engravers, enamellers, and goldsmiths sometimes in collaboration. The highly sculpturesque quality of most Renaissance and Baroque rings can be compared with the striving for greater veracity that characterizes the monumental arts of this period.

    By far the most common type of ring from the Renaissance was the boxed bezel set with faceted stones in highly ornate geometric bezels with intricate articulated shoulders, sometimes with protruding volutes, the whole richly enameled. Surviving drawings for rings by sixteenth-century goldsmith-designers Etienne Delaune, Pierre Woeiriot, and René Boyvin record variations on this type. Often reviving classical subjects and motifs, numerous cameos and intaglios also date from this era, produced under illustrious, often princely, patronage. By the sixteenth century the careers of famous gem-cutters can be reconstructed; they include Valerio Belli, Alessandro Cesati, Alessandro Masnago, and Francesco Torino. However, few Renaissance cameos and intaglios appear in their original mounts, because they were often made not as rings but rather as virtuoso carvings, kept in drawers in cabinets and taken out and admired by Renaissance princes.

    During Elizabethan and Tudor times in England, commonplace books (the earliest dated 1596) were used by goldsmiths and their customers to provide appropriate inscriptions for rings. References to posy rings (from “poésie” or poetry) abound in literature of the period; for example, in Shakespeare's Hamlet (III, ii, 162): “Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring.” The discovery of the New World also wrought changes in the evolution of rings, as it did for painting, because new stones became available. The newly prized diamond, expensive then as now, was often imitated by the similarly favored rock crystal. Extensive surviving pictorial evidence is useful because it contributes to a more precise dating and localization of rings from this era.

     

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PENDANT WITH THE ANNUNCIATION MINIATURES BY VALERIO MARUCELLI (1563–1626)

Italy, c. 1620
Gold, enamel, crystal, oil on copper
Weight 36.2 grams; dimensions 60 × 44 × 13 mm (with loop)

USD $85,000

Description
Double-sided pendant with oval miniatures in oil on copper set in a gold and opaque white-enameled surround under crystal. The miniatures depict the Virgin of the Santissima Annunziata and the Angel Gabriel on blue backgrounds. Openwork gold frame with translucent blue strapwork alternating with opaque white flowers, translucent green foliage, and red globule-like fruits. Green enameled pedestal for gold pendant loop and ring.

Comparisons and Literature
The miniatures in this pendant are copies of the heads of the Virgin and the Angel Gabriel in the Annunciation fresco in the Santissima Annunziata church in Florence. Replicas were painted by Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) and his son Cristofano Allori (1577-1621). In her detailed research in the archives of Florence, Lisa Goldenberg-Stoppato attributed these miniatures to the Florentine artist Valerio Marucelli, active in Florence at the end of the sixteenth/beginning of the seventeenth century. Archival sources refer to this artist as working for the Medici family and specializing in miniatures of famous works of art. Nearly forty different miniatures painted by him are mentioned in the inventories and account books of the Galleria dei Lavori (in the Uffizi and the registers of the Guardaroba). Goldenberg-Stoppato has identified the miniatures with a reference in the inventory of the Medici Guardaroba of 8 November 1618, when they were delivered to Cosimo II. This type of openwork enamel frame can be found on pendants, often with images of the Virgin, in the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid (Arbeteta Mira 2003, no. 60) and in the Museo Cerralbo (exh. cat., La Joyería Española 1998, no. 83).

Reference number: 78018

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