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Rock crystal cup with carved masks
Mayer, Johann Daniel
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Mayer, Johann Daniel

Augsburgo, 1662, 1675

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Rock crystal cup with carved masks

1662 - 1675. Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz, Enamel, Gold, Silver gilt.
Room 079B

A vessel consisting of three pieces of rock crystal and three mounts. The hemispherical bowl has an oval mouth and eight gadroons, the two frontal ones being the broadest, with a decoration of rounded leaves carved into arrises, and two large smiling masks, one in each of the broad gadroons. The knop has double gadroons and the foot is an inverted reproduction of the structure of the body on a smaller scale. Two of the mounts consist of a double band of black and gold rope pattern framing a sky blue strip with naturalistically represented flowers and green and black painted enamel whorls, the same as the mount on the foot. Ottoman in inspiration, they are identical to those of other vessels in the Museo degli Argenti in Florence that are attributed to the Central European schools of Augsburg or Prague. The vessels that have these mounts are derived from the models of shell-shaped cups made by Gasparo Miseroni and his son Ottavio.

Notable for its large proportions, the decoration recalls the animist movement’s taste for large masks, and may represent the face of the “Baphomet” of alchemy. The leaves and the general appearance of the mask, as well as the knop, point us towards the circle of Johann Daniel Mayer (act. 1662-75).

Mounts of this type, consisting of polychrome series of painted flowers on sky blue enamel, are frequent in European collections, and are based on designs published by various ornamentists, such as those of Gilles L’Egaré in his Paris publication of 1663. Other major exponents were François Le Febvre with his Livre Nouveau de toutes sortes d´ourages d´Orfeueries (Paris, 1667), and especially Jacques Vauquer (1621-1686), who published his Liures de Fleurs Propre Pour Orfeures et Graueurs in Blois in those same years. Among the abundant existing examples, one worth mentioning is a similar mount on a tall cup with a shell-shaped bowl resting on a baluster, OA 6 at the Musée du Louvre, and another is a piece in the Danish collection at Rosenborg Castle, inv. 5-218.

Cups with a shell-shaped body were inspired by models from the second half of the 16th century, like those made by Gasparo Miseroni, but treated in a more schematic language as a historicist recreation. This rather decadent production comes in part from Prague and in part from Central European workshops, especially Augsburg, where a purveyor to Louis XIV called Dalencé acquired a series of vessels, among them two shell-shaped jade cups that could be the work of Johann Daniel Mayer. The first is MR 185 at the Musée du Louvre, and the second is A 47 at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. There are related pieces, also tall cups, at the Museo degli Argenti in Florence, such as no. 19 in the Inventario del Bargello 1917, a jasper vessel that possibly comes from the same workshop as the one in the Prado, since the enamelling is practically the same, and so is the knop on the stem.

Original state: Juan Laurent y Minier, “Coupe ovoide, cristal de roche taillé et gravé, montures d’argent émaillé et peint, XVIIe siècle, règne de Henri IV”, c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/35.

Technical data

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Leather, Wood, Metal, Silk, 1662 - 1700
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Inventory number
Mayer, Johann Daniel
Rock crystal cup with carved masks
1662 - 1675
Enamelled; Carved
Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz; Enamel; Gold; Silver gilt
Height: 29 cm; Width: 27 cm; Base/bottom: 18.5 cm; Weight: 3113 g; Ancho base: 17.4 cm; Bottom of the base: 15.1 cm
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 190-191.

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. 261,262.

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 [64].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 134.
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 [...] 134. Una copa grande aovada abarquillada con su base y pie todo de cristal de roca, abiertos en ella y en el pie cuatro mascarones y unas hojas con arqueado, la base agallonada, en ella y pie tres guarniciones de plata esmaltadas de azul, y pintadas de colores unas flores, hojas o cartones.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 134.
Una copa grande aobadas abarquillada con su vaso y pie todo de cristal de roca, abiertos en ella, y en el pie quatro mascarones, y otras hojas con arqueado; la vasa agallonada, en ella y pie tres guarniciones de plata esmaltadas de azul y pintads. de colores, unas flores, hojas y cartones vale 5.780.

Listado de objetos robados del Real Gabinete de Historia Natural en 1813 y devueltos en 1816. Núm. 134.
Una copa grande aobada abarquillada con su vasa y pie todo de cristal de roca, abiertos en ella y en el pie quatro mascarones y unas hojas con arqueado; la vasa agallonada: en ella y pie tres guarniciones de plata esmaltada de azul y pintadas de colores unas flores hojas o cartones: vale ... 5.780 [Conforme]

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 87.
Una Copa con su pie, figura ovalada ácanalada todo de Christal de Roca con tres guarniciones en el referido pie, de color de oro Esmaltado, que tiene una Tercia, y un dedo de alto, quince dedos, y medº. de alrgo, y Caja de Tafilete encarnado.

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 3 C.
Numº 3 / Prix contant Pistoles 240 / Un grand Vase de Cristal de roche en forme ovale á six grands godrons creux en dedans, gravé aux deux costez du corps de deux grands mascarons sur son pied á balaustre á huit godrons creux en dehors, le bas du pied est aussi á six grands godrons gravé aussi aux deux costez de deux mascarons au haut et au bas du balaustre il y a deux cercles d'or emailléz de fleurs et rinceaux de plusieurs couleurs, et á chacun cercle il y eu a deux autres d'or emaillé de noir, au basse de la patte c'est un grand cercle d'or emaillés comme les deux autres cy dessus. Le dit Vase haut de dix pouces et demi, long de dix pouces et large de sept. / Valeur 300

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

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

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