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Sardonyx cup with eagle's head
Hellenistic workshop (?); Belle, Josias (?); Taller parisino
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Hellenistic workshop (?)
Belle, Josias (?)
Taller parisino

Sardonyx cup with eagle's head

323 a.C. - 321 a.C.. Diamond, Enamel, Emerald, Gold, Ruby, Ágata sardónice

The vessel, similar to O44, is formed by three fragments of agate and five enamelled gold mounts. The body is an ancient piece of stone with a broad gold mount on the edge decorated with an enamelled pattern of white and black foliage linked by festoons of blue ribbons. Resting on this is an eagle’s head in black and white enamel, with a gold beak and two rubies for eyes. A thick knop supports the cup, and the stem is joined to the foot by another smaller mount with the same designs. Running around the foot is a final mount with straight blue ribbons broken by semicircles and intermingled with foliage. The three mounts are enriched with overlays of rubies, emeralds and diamonds. It originally had a handle in the form of a winged dragon of enamelled gold, also covered in precious stones, which was stolen in 1918.

Verlet proposed a possible attribution to the silversmith Josias Belle.

This vessel was originally decorated with twenty-nine rubies, the same number of diamonds, and twenty emeralds. Of these, sixteen rubies, seven emeralds and three diamonds remain today. The winged dragon that served as a handle, similar to that of O-44, was stolen in 1918.

The decorative use of animal forms for the lip and handle also appears on several pieces in Louis XIV’s collection. Given the large number of vessels with stylistically related mounts and the existing documentation on changes made to them, it can be presumed that the mounts in this group were produced simultaneously for both the monarch and his son in the last decade of the 17th century. This coincides with the rise of the fashion for feuillages, propitiated at court by series like those of Louis Rupert, the monogrammist PC (active in Paris around 1672-1676), and the straight and curved lines of the ribbon motifs of Bérain and Daniel Morot. The latter artist, expelled like many of his compatriots after the Edict of Nantes, contributed decisively to the propagation of the French classicist style in the Low Countries.

The Museo del Prado has the photograph by Juan Laurent y Minier, Coupe agate sardoine, montures d’or et argent avec pierres précieuses et émaux, XVIe siècle, règne de François II, c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/24 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Related artworks

Gadrooned sardonyx cup with an eagle’s head
Diamond, Emerald, Gold, Ruby, Ágata sardónice, s IV - V century
Case for sardonyx cup with an eagle’s head
Wood, Metal, Velvet, 1689 - 1711
Vaso de sardónice con cabeza de águila
Albumen on photographic paper, Ca. 1863
Inventory number
O000043
Author
Hellenistic workshop (?); Belle, Josias (?); Taller parisino
Title
Sardonyx cup with eagle's head
Date
323 a.C. - 321 a.C.; After 1689
Technique
Chased; Enamelled; Carved; Mounted / set
Medium
Diamond; Enamel; Emerald; Gold; Ruby; Ágata sardónice
Dimension
Height: 22.7 cm.; Width: 16.3 cm.; Base/bottom: 13.5 cm.; Weight: 842 g.; Diameter of the base: 10.7 cm.
Series
Tesoro del Delfín
Provenance
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Gil, Cristina, El Tesoro: Una maravilla barroca perdida en el Museo del Prado, 1985/02/24, pp. 14-16.

Departamento Didáctico-Pedagógico, Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989, pp. 1-8.

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 86.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, Nuevas noticias sobre las 'Alhajas del Delfín' (II), Boletín del Museo del Prado, 13, 1992, pp. 21-36.

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. 134-135.

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

Other inventories +

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 80.
Vaso, con su tapa y pie de agata onis...

Exhibitions +

Intercambio por las Colecciones Reales Españolas de mosaicos y piedras duras
Madrid
09.07.2001 - 16.09.2001

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

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

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