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Flask with tracery and a head of Medusa in gold
Miseroni, Giovanni Ambrogio; Anonymous
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Miseroni, Giovanni Ambrogio
Anonymous

Flask with tracery and a head of Medusa in gold

s XVI - XVII century. Diamond, Gold, Omphacite Not on display

An ovate vessel in the form of an urn. It has a smooth pyriform body with a double moulding on the shoulder, a neck with a concave profile, and a round mouth. The moulded cover has the form of a cupola, while the short bell-shaped stem ends in a round foot with the same diameter as the mouth. The stone, cracked since ancient times, is held by a mount of pierced and chased gold forming a net, with leaves at the intersections and a head of Medusa on the front. On the foot is a double moulding with a decoration of leaves and spirals. Gold rosettes are scattered over the neck, stem and foot. Incrusted in the finial is an irregular diamond. Owing to the fine material used and its technical quality, the piece can be related to the output of the workshop of Gasparo Miseroni, the most important hardstone carver of his day, whose works are characterised by balanced proportions and smooth forms with the occasional delicate moulding or monolithic handle.

Its handle, in the form of a coiled serpent, was stolen in 1918. It can be seen in the photographs of the second half of the 19th century, along with the mount on the lip, which would have held the small square-linked chain that is described in the inventories and disappeared in Paris. [Attributed to Jane Clifford, Small agate vase with masks, c. 1863. Museo del Prado, HF1167]

Illustrious owners It may have belonged to the group of vessels acquired by Francis I of France between 1533 and 1535, which were made of a then very highly valued material called “emerald plasma”. Described in the 1561 inventory carried out at Fontainebleau, they can be identified with some pieces at the Musée du Louvre. Letizia Arbeteta identified this piece in the inventory of goods at the Château de Pau drawn up in 1561 and 1562, where it appears among the items belonging to Queen Jeanne III of Navarre (1528-72). The vessels were small and carved to a practically smooth finish, of very fine quality, and harmoniously proportioned in the Italian Renaissance taste. Since the merchant who provided them was Milanese, it has been speculated that they might have been early products from the workshops of that Italian duchy, made in the 1530s until supplies of the mineral, from a vein brought probably from Burma, eventually ran out. Recognisable by its intense green colour and the presence of small lemon-coloured marks, the mineral is currently considered a variety of jadeite called omphacite.

The Museo del Prado has the photograph by Juan Laurent y Minier, Urne, jaspe sanguin, montures d’or, émaux et pierres precieuses, XVIe siècle, règne de Charles IX ou Henri III, c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/33 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Inventory number
O000057
Author
Miseroni, Giovanni Ambrogio; Anonymous
Title
Flask with tracery and a head of Medusa in gold
Date
s XVI - XVII century; 1530 - 1540
Technique
Chased; Carved; Mounted / set / linked
Medium
Diamond; Gold; Omphacite
Dimension
Height: 11.1 cm.; Width: 6 cm.; Base/bottom: 5.4 cm.; Weight: 108 g.; Diameter of the base: 3.2 cm.
Series
Tesoro del Delfín
Provenance
Juana III de Navarra; Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Alcouffe, Daniel, 'Le vases en prime d' émeraude de la collection de Louis XIV', Association Française de Gemmologie, 40, septembre, 1974, pp. 9-11.

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 102.

Arbeteta Mira, Leticia, 'Nuevas noticias sobre las 'Alhajas del Delfín' (I) Correspondencia entre los Inventarios de 1746, 1776 y catálogo de Angulo Iñiguez e identificación de un vaso desaparecido en 1815', Boletín del Museo del Prado., 30, 1991, pp. 71-88.

Arbeteta Mira, Leticia, 'Estudios Catalográfico ns. 86 y 87' En:, Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Centenario de Carlos V, 2000, pp. 397-398.

Castelluccio, Stéphane, 'Le partage de la prestigieuse collection du Grand Dauphin. La part de Philippe V d'Espagne', L'Estampille, l'objet d'art, 374, mai, 2000, pp. 56-72.

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. 136-137.

Arbeteta, L, 'Gasparo Miseroni ?. Flacon de prisme d'émeraude orné de résille ey d' une tète de Meduse en or' En:, Trésors Princiers: Richesses de la cour de Navarre au XVIe siècle, Reunión des musées nationaux-Grand Palais,, 2017, pp. 106-107 n.63.

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

Verlet, Pierre, 'Les gemmes du Dauphin', Art de France, III, pp. 136-153.

Other inventories +

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 73.
Vinagera de piedra blasma con su tapador...

Exhibitions +

Trésors Princiers - Richesses de la Cour de Navarre
Pau
07.04.2017 - 09.07.2017

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 02-05-2019 | Registry created on 26-11-2015

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