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Small urn in faceted rock crystal
Anonymous (?); Metellino, Giovanni Battista (Workshop of)
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Anonymous (?)
Metellino, Giovanni Battista (Workshop of)

Small urn in faceted rock crystal

XIII century. Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz Room 079B

A vessel cut in a single piece with no mounts, with a high foot in the form of a truncated cone, a bulbous bowl, an everted neck and a cover with a basket-handle arch profile surmounted by an acorn. The facets with sharply edged arrises are characteristic of mediaeval European work, as are the thick sides and the extreme simplicity of the forms. Arbeteta proposes two possibilities for this piece. The first is that it is an old work, as apparently indicated by the irregular profile of the slightly asymmetrical bowl, related by Angulo to a vessel in Dresden. In such a case, it might be an early work in the art of crystal carving, dating from the 13th to 15th centuries. The cover seems later, perhaps an addition. The second possibility is that the vessel is a later product of a modest workshop, whether recarved or fashioned as a new piece. The Versailles inventory of 1689 mentions a similar object in the collection of the Grand Dauphin (C 224).

The carved facets forming vertical strips recall certain mediaeval pieces, especially reliquaries, such as those preserved in the Treasury of Saint Denis, in Dresden or in the Museo degli Argenti, where some similar vessels are found in the Treasury of San Lorenzo, inv. 1945, nos. 25, 95, 49 and 50. The first, faceted, is a truncated cone that is everted above an upper moulding; the second is also faceted, with three horizontal cuts; the third is a jug with handles in the form of a dragon, with a bulbous body and cylindrical neck, all faceted, as is the cover; and the final piece is a vase, apparently mutilated, mounted on a reliquary, with two C-shaped handles and an oblique upper plane. Large numbers of other mediaeval European vessels carved with arrises, many with monolithic handles, can still be seen in various European collections. Those made with this technique include the vessels preserved at Toledo Cathedral and those at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which date from the 13th century. The Louvre has some later vessels carved with arrises, such as R 394, of about 1700, or MR 316, whose cover is crowned by a pointed knob. The same institution holds two other vessels with arrises, the first an engraved piece with insects, MR 308, reminiscent of the style of Metellino, and the second, MR 300, with moulding on the body. Vessel MR 284 at the Louvre, also decorated with arrises, comes from the Dauphin’s collection and belongs to the same series as those cited. Arbeteta has suggested that this group of vessels might have all come from the same workshop, which might sometimes have reused old pieces to create more fashionable ones besides making completely new objects (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Related artworks

Case for small urn in faceted rock crystal
Leather, Wood, Metal, Cloth, s XVI - XVII century
Inventory number
O000118
Author
Anonymous (?); Metellino, Giovanni Battista (Workshop of)
Title
Small urn in faceted rock crystal
Date
XIII century; Early Finales del siglo XVI - XVII century
Technique
Carved
Medium
Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz
Dimension
Height: 19.7 cm.; Diameter: 10.4 cm.; Weight: 581 g.; Diameter of the base: 7 cm.
Series
Tesoro del Delfín
Provenance
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 188.

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. 236,237.

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 https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/libro?codigo=705205.

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

Other inventories +

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 101.
Vaso con su pie todo de una pieza

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

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

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