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

Technical data

Related artworks

Case for small urn in faceted rock crystal
Leather, Wood, Metal, Fabric, 1650 - 1689
Inventory number
Anonymous ?; Workshop of Metellino, Giovanni Battista
Small urn in faceted rock crystal
XIII century (?); Early Finales del siglo XVI - XVII century (Recarved?)
Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz
Height: 19.7 cm; Diameter: 10.4 cm; Weight: 581 g; Diameter of the base: 7 cm
Tesoro del Delfín
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

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.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 101.
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 [...] 101. Un vaso con su pie todo de una pieza y tapa de cristal de roca, labrado a listas lisas guiladas, y en la tapa su remate.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 101.
Un vaso con su pie todo de una pieza, y tapa de cristal de roca, labrado a listas lisas quiladas, y en la tapa su remate vale 1.000.

Listado de objetos robados del Real Gabinete de Historia Natural en 1813 y devueltos en 1816. Núm. 101.
Un vaso con su pie todo de una pieza y tapa de cristal de roca, labrado á listas lisas guiladas, y en la tapa su remate vale ... 1.000 [Conforme]

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 73.
Un Jarroncito con pie, y Tapa, y sobre ella un botoncito todo de Christal de Roca sin guarnicion alguna, y incluso dho botoncito, tiene once dedos de alto, y Caja de Tafilete encarnado.

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 235 C.
Numº 235 / Prix contant Pistoles 70 / Une Urne taillée à pans avec son couvercle taillé de mesme et terminé par un bouton pointu, haute sans le couvercle de cinq pouces dix lignes et de diametre deux pouces huit lignes. / Valeur

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

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

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