Covered cup (Globuspokal)

Swiss (Zurich)
about 1580–90
Attributed to Abraham Gessner (Swiss, 1552–1613)


Height: 50.5 cm (19 7/8 in.) Diameter: 16.8 cm (6 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver, partially gilded

On View

Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)





This double cup in the form of a globe is a masterpiece of both Renaissance goldsmith’s work and cartography. The engraving of the globe is based on the 1578 edition of Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theater of the World), considered to be the first commercial atlas. Among the innovations of the new edition were the depiction of the Spanish and French territories in North America, ‘Hispana Nova’ and ‘Nova Francia,’ and the representation of two important rivers in South America, the Amazon and the Rio de la Plata. Above the globe is set an armillary sphere, an early astronomical device representing the Earth at the center of the great circles of the heavens.




18th century, possibly Matthäus Seutter (b. 1678- d. 1756), Augsburg; possibly by descent within the family to Botho Seutter von Lötzen (b. 1905 - d. 1975), Trautenberg Castle, Styria [see note]; 1952, sold by Botho Seutter von Lötzen to a private collection, Austria; by about 2006, sold by this private collection to or through Albex, S.A., Geneva; 2006, sold by Albex, through J. Kugel Antiquaires, Paris, to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 24, 2006)

NOTE: Alexis Kugel, "Spheres: The Art of the Celestial Mechanic," (cat., 2002), p. 66, notes that the globe belonged to the Seutter von Lötzen family until 1952, when it was sold by Botho Seutter von Lötzen. The author hypothesizes that it may have originally belonged to Matthäus Seutter, a cartographer and goldsmith.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously