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Citrine quartz vase in the shape of an oil lamp
Workshop of the Miseroni; Miseroni, Dionisio ?; Miseroni, Ottavio ?
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Workshop of the Miseroni
Miseroni, Dionisio ?
Miseroni, Ottavio ?

Citrine quartz vase in the shape of an oil lamp

1600 - 1630. Citrine, Enamel, Gold, Cuarzo ahumado.
Room 079B

This vessel, described as a “velón” or oil lamp in the 1746 inventory of La Granja de San Ildefonso, is one of the few pieces in the Dauphin’s Treasure in their original state. It is made up of three pieces of citrine quartz and one, the finial, of smoky quartz, linked by five mounts and two gold handles in black enamel. On the egg-shaped body are four protrusions. Inserted on the smaller two are scrolls forming the handles, while the other two larger ones end in enamelled gold spouts. The cover, with a slightly flared profile, is decorated with gadroons, as is the foot. On the finial, a gold ring supports a rounded baluster. The body is decorated with deeply cut waves and volutes. Together with the tone of the quartz and the form of the vessel, this is suggestive of smoke curling inside an oil lamp.

On this piece, the usual decorative scenes have disappeared. All that remains is form and matter in order to create the visual illusion of an oil lamp whose flame has just gone out. The strong lines of this piece contrast with the delicacy of the inlaid enamel of its principal mounts, applied on finely scratched surfaces. The motifs arranged vertically are based on the Renaissance candelieri, through here reinterpreted after the fashion for so-called silhouettes, at its height from 1610 to 1620, consisting of designs for extremely fine scroll patterns ending in pointed forms, and published for execution in monochrome enamel, as seen in the repertories of Drüsse, Saur, Hurtu and others, printed in the first third of the 17th century. In 2001, Arbeteta attributed the vessel to Dionysio Miseroni, the last great stonecutter of the Milanese tradition, possibly in collaboration with his father Ottavio, the head of the workshop that supplied numerous pieces to Rudolf II. In 2016, the same scholar re-examined the possibility that the piece might be an early but assured work by the son. Although the design of the mount argues against a later date for the vessel, it greatly resembles works by Dionysio in his period of artistic maturity between 1640 and 1650, when this type of work in gold had already gone out of fashion. Ottavio had meanwhile explored the possibilities of different materials and colours. The transition from the figurative to the abstract, and from the purity of rock crystal to a less frequently used material like quartz in its various tonalities, was the swan song of this Milanese family business. Its constant and abundant use was accentuated in Dionysio’s work in keeping with the stylistic evolution of the Prague School, as studied by Distelberger. This is appreciable in numerous vessels in Vienna that are attributed to him, many of them decorated with undulating lines and parallel volutes. Ottavio’s development towards organic and abstract forms thus continued with his son, who made pure geometry out of traditional motifs, such as the tulip petals cut on a vessel in the Kunstkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, inv. 1661.

Original state: Juan Laurent y Minier, “Vase, en cristal de roche taillé et gravé, montures d’or et émail, XVIIe siècle, règne de Henri IV”, c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/40.

Technical data

Inventory number
Workshop of the Miseroni; Miseroni, Dionisio ?; Miseroni, Ottavio ?
Citrine quartz vase in the shape of an oil lamp
1600 - 1630
Enamelled; Carved; Engraved
Citrine; Enamel; Gold; Cuarzo ahumado
Height: 13.8 cm; Width: 14.7 cm; Base/bottom: 11.2 cm; Weight: 562 g; Ancho base: 5 cm; Bottom of the base: 5.7 cm
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 158.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, El tesoro del Delfín: alhajas de Felipe V recibidas por herencia de su padre Luis, Gran Delfín de Francia, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 307,308.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, 'Taller de los Miseroni, Ottavio (?) Dionysio (?). Vaso en forma de velón' En:, Arte transparente. La talla del cristal en el Renacimiento milanés., Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 144-147 n.20.

Azcue Brea,L. Simal López,M. Cardito,Y., 'La participación de piezas del Tesoro del Delfín del Museo del Pradoen la Exposición Histórico-Natural y Etnográfica' En:, Ministerio de Educación Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2017, pp. 295-308

Arbeteta, Leticia, 'Tesoro del delfín. Una herencia de la familia real francesa' En:, Los tesoros ocultos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2017, pp. 248-276.

Arbeteta, L. Azcue, L., El Tesoro del Delfín, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2018.

Azcue Brea, Leticia, Rarezas y lujo para deslumbrar: el Tesoro del Delfín., Ars & Renovatio.Centro de Estudios de Arte del Renacimiento, 7, 2019, pp. 504-519.

Tortajada, Sonia, Sobre la identificacion de materiales pétreos el Tesoro del Delfín, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXVII, 2019-2021, pp. 53-68 [63].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 104.
Alhajas y efectos preciosos que se hallaban colocados en el Gabinete de Historia natural y trasladados al Real Museo de Pintura y Escultura de S. M., en virtud de Rl. orden de 11 de Mayo de 1839 [...] 104. Otro vaso con su pie y tapa de cristal de roca, hechura de velon, labrado con sus asas, dos mecheros en el pie y tapados, y guarniciones de oro esmaltado de negro.

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, 1734. Núm. 71.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 104.
Otro vaso con su pie tapa, de cristal de roca, hechura de velon labrado, con sus asas dos mecheros, en el pie y tapa dos guarniciones de oro, esmaltado de negro, vale 2.084...16.

Listado de objetos robados del Real Gabinete de Historia Natural en 1813 y devueltos en 1816. Núm. 104.
Otro vaso con su pie y tapa de cristal de roca, hechura de belon, labrado con sus asas, dos mecheros, en el pie y tapa de guarniciones de oro esmaltado de negro: vale ... 2.084...16 [Este vaso se dice ser el mismo qe. está puesto desps. con la letra G]

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 110.
Un Vaso en forma de Velon con su pie, tapa, y remate todo de Color de Topacio con quatro guarniciones dos en el pie, y dos en la Tapa; dos Mecheros, y dos Asas todo de Color de oro Esmaltado, que incluso el remate tiene ocho dedos de alto, y Caja como la antecte. [de tafilete encarnado].

Exhibitions +

Arte Transparente. Obras maestras de la talla del cristal de roca en el Renacimiento milanés.
13.10.2015 - 10.01.2016

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 30-04-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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