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Rock crystal gondola with an enamelled mask on the prow
Anonymous; Delabarre, Pierre (Circle of)
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Delabarre, Pierre (Circle of)

Rock crystal gondola with an enamelled mask on the prow

Ca. 1600. Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz, Enamel, Gold

A vessel made up of three pieces of rock crystal and three enamelled gold mounts. The body is formed by a boat-shaped piece with a figurehead on the prow consisting of a mask with pointed ears and ram’s horns. It is entirely decorated with painted enamel in warm tones with touches of blue. The rock crystal is decorated with some vegetable clusters on the foot and afterdeck, and garlands with fruits, tendrils and rows of seeds, rather coarse in execution, beneath the stern, leaving the prow unadorned. A plain mount with a single central band of blue enamelled ova serves to connect the structure of the afterdeck, which rises to imitate a very deformed pair of feline jaws. A second mount of embedded sky blue enamel with spiral patterns and fleurettes joins the body to the short stem and its flat oval foot. The stem has a knop with a carved decoration of gadroons.

The mounts with opaque sky blue enamel embedded on a reserve are older than the polychrome mounts, and perhaps came from the workshop that made the vessel. They can be dated between the last quarter of the 16th century and the first decade of the 17th century, while the mask is a later historicist interpretation of certain Mannerist designs, not infrequent in the French artistic milieu, but not exclusive to French artists either. Grotesque masks blended with organic elements and scallop shells, with the mouth open and a lower lip protruding like a plate, appear frequently in drawings by some European ornamentists, whose source probably lay in the repertories of Enea Vico, among whose designs for different vessels are two caricaturesque masks. Closer to the vessel at the Prado is a drawing by Francesco Salviati at the Ashmolean Museum which shows a vase with the Three Graces, a female satyr and other elements, including a spout in the form of a mask with a scallop shell forming a kind of prolonged mouth. In various prints by Cornelis Floris, made in Antwerp in 1548, we once again find spouts in the form of scallop shells, some with masks whose mouths extend forwards. Another important artist, the engraver Virgil Solis (c. 1514-62), uses the same decorative motif in a design for a rich vessel preserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, inv. E. 2869-1910, which shows a mask with horns and a beard whose lower lip protrudes to form a spout. This design, made in Nuremberg, can also be dated to the mid-16th century.

Original state: Juan Laurent y Minier, “Vase, en cristal de roche taillé et gravé, montures d’or et émail, XVIe siècle, commt du règne de Henri IV”, c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/36 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

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Inventory number
Anonymous; Delabarre, Pierre (Circle of)
Rock crystal gondola with an enamelled mask on the prow
Ca. 1600; 1600 - 1640
Enamelled; Carved; Engraved; Esmerilado
Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz; Enamel; Gold
Height: 17.6 cm.; Width: 28 cm.; Base/bottom: 12.6 cm.; Weight: 753 g.; Ancho base: 7.2 cm.; Bottom of the base: 9.9 cm.
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 184-185.

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. 330,331.

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

Other inventories +

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 89.
Vaso hechura de barco...

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 02-05-2019 | Registry created on 03-12-2015

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