• The MFA’s collection of European decorative arts and sculpture include approximately 22,000 works of art from the seventh century until the present day. Among the strengths of the holdings are English silver and porcelain, eighteenth-century French decorative arts, medieval sculpture and works of art, and Italian Renaissance sculpture. In recent years, the focus has been on making strategic purchases in all fields to fill gaps in the collection, and especially in the area of nineteenth-century decorative arts and sculpture. Explore a highlighted selection of these pieces from across the Museum’s collection.

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  • Cabinet-on-stand

    English (London)
    about 1805
    Attributed to James Newton (English, 1748–about 1804)

    Description

    Designed for a collector, this cabinet is fitted with two banks of graduated drawers, intended to hold medals, coins, and other small-scale works of art. It is an important example of the furniture produced by London cabinetmaker James Newton, a leading exponent of neoclassicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Between 1800 and 1810, Newton was at the pinnacle of his career, supplying furniture to Matthew Boulton for Soho House in Birmingham, to the Earl of Jersey for Osterley and Middleton Park, and other notable clients. In its decoration, this cabinet documents the Egyptian taste in English Regency furniture and interior design, inspired by Napoleon’s Campaign of the Nile (1798-1799) and by the flood of new information on Egyptian antiquities and monuments that entered Europe through illustrated publications in the first decades of the 19th century.


    Designed for a collector, this cabinet is fitted with two ranges of drawers in graduating sizes, intended to hold medals, coins, and other small-scale works of art. It is a rare and important example of the furniture produced by London cabinetmaker James Newton, one of the greatest exponents of neoclassicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Between 1800 and 1810, the period during which this cabinet was made, Newton was at the pinnacle of his career, supplying furniture to Matthew Boulton for Soho House in Birmingham, to the Earl of Jersey for Osterley and Middleton Park, and other notable clients. In its decoration, this cabinet documents the Egyptian taste in English Regency furniture and interior design, inspired by Napoleon’s Campaign of the Nile (1798-1799) and by the flood of new information on Egyptian antiquities and monuments that entered Europe through illustrated publications in the first decades of the 19th century.

    Provenance

    About 2006, Mallett and Son Antiques, London. 2006, acquired on the London art market by Horace Wood Brock, New York; gift of Horace Wood Brock to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 13, 2006)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Horace Wood Brock in memory of George "Peabo" Gardner, Jr.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 162.6 x 108 x 48.3 cm (64 x 42 1/2 x 19 in.)

    Accession Number

    2006.1927

    Medium or Technique

    Oak, pine, and mahogany, veneered with satinwood, rosewood, tulipwood, ebony, and boxwood; partially ebonized and gilded; ivory, and brass

    On View

    Susan Morse Hilles Gallery (Gallery 152)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Furniture, Case furniture and boxes

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  • Macaw

    Ara ararauna

    German
    about 1732
    Made by Meissen Manufactory (Germany), Modeled by Johann Joachim Kändler (German, 1706–1775)

    Object Place: Meissen, Germany

    Description

    Naturalistically modeled, perching on a tree stump base, upside down with wings unfurled and beak open.


    The porcelain animals created at the Meissen manufactory between 1730 and 1736 represent one of the most ambitious commissions in the history of European ceramics. Around 1725, Augustus II, elector of Saxony and King of Poland, conceived the bold plan to convert a Dresden residence, known as the “Japanese” Palace, into a magnificent setting for the royal ceramics collection. The ground floor rooms were to showcase more than 25,000 pieces of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, while the upper story was reserved for the porcelain produced at his own factory in nearby Meissen. The most spectacular interior was to be a long gallery, decorated with nearly six hundred porcelain animals.

    Sixty-nine different species were ordered, ranging from dogs, foxes, and goats to exotic elephants and monkeys, and even three mythical creatures. These large animals, some life-sized, stretched the technical and artistic limits of the porcelain medium, only recently discovered in Europe.

    In May 1732 Kändler created one of the most dynamic and expressive animals of all-a life-sized Brazilian macaw climbing down a tree trunk. The earlier birds had derived from prints published in zoological treatises, resulting in static poses and occasionally stylized features. By spring 1732, however, Kändler based his models on live animals in the royal zoos in and around Dresden, achieving an astonishing degree of naturalism. Measuring four feet in height, this model is also one of the largest produced at Meissen.

    The production was such a drain on the factory’s resources that the last orders were placed in 1736 and the scheme abandoned entirely by 1740. Still, Meissen delivered more than five hundred sculptures in less than ten years. This macaw belongs to a group of eight animals recently acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts through gift and bequest from New York collectors Edward and Kiyi Pflueger.

    Provenance

    Between 1730 and 1736, commissioned by Augustus II (b. 1670 – d. 1733), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and his successor, Augustus III (b. 1696 – d. 1763), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, for the Japanese Palace in Dresden [see note 1]. James A. Lewis & Son, New York. Edulji Dinshaw (b. 1916 - d. 1970), New York; December 8, 1962, Dinshaw sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, lot 35, to Edward M. Pflueger (b. 1905 - d. 1997) and Kiyi Powers Pflueger (b. 1915 - d. 2008), New York; 2006, bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 26, 2006) Notes: [1] Augustus II (“the Strong”) began building the Japanese Palace in Dresden in 1725 and commissioned more than 35,000 porcelain works from the nearby Meissen porcelain manufactory to furnish his "porcelain palace." The original collection featured more than 500 large bird and animal figures; among these were 37 animal species and 32 bird species. Augustus II died in 1733 and his son Augustus III took over the project. The Japanese Palace became a museum and library after the death of Augustus III, and parts of the collection were sold and traded in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Credit Line

    Kiyi and Edward M. Pflueger Collection. Bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and Gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 124.5 cm (49 in.) Weight (estimated): 55 lb. (24.95 kg)

    Accession Number

    2006.922

    Medium or Technique

    Hard-paste porcelain

    On View

    Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Ceramics, Porcelain

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  • Figure of a Peacock

    German
    about 1734
    Made by Meissen Manufactory (Germany), Modeled by Johann Joachim Kändler (German, 1706–1775)

    Object Place: Meissen, Germany

    Description

    Naturalistically modeled with a long tail perched on a high tree stump applied with leafy branches.


    The porcelain animals created at the Meissen manufactory between 1730 and 1736 represent one of the most ambitious commissions in the history of European ceramics. Around 1725, Augustus II, elector of Saxony and King of Poland, conceived the bold plan to convert a Dresden residence, known as the “Japanese” Palace, into a magnificent setting for the royal ceramics collection. The ground floor rooms were to showcase more than 25,000 pieces of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, while the upper story was reserved for the porcelain produced at his own factory in nearby Meissen. The most spectacular interior was to be a long gallery, decorated with nearly six hundred porcelain animals.

    Sixty-nine different species were ordered, ranging from dogs, foxes, and goats to exotic elephants and monkeys, and even three mythical creatures. These large animals, some life-sized, stretched the technical and artistic limits of the porcelain medium, only recently discovered in Europe.

    In spring 1734 the sculptor Kändler supplied two different models of the large peacock-one seated on a tall tree stump, the other displaying its fan. The seated model posed a considerable technical challenge, not only because of its exceptional size, but also because the long tail was vulnerable to damage in the kiln. Only three examples of the seated peacock are now known; the two others remain in the Porcelain Collection in Dresden.

    The production was such a drain on the factory’s resources that the last orders were placed in 1736 and the scheme abandoned entirely by 1740. Still, Meissen delivered more than five hundred sculptures in less than ten years. This peacock belongs to a group of eight animals recently acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts through gift and bequest from New York collectors Edward and Kiyi Pflueger.

    Provenance

    Between 1730 and 1736, commissioned by Augustus II (b. 1670 – d. 1733), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and his successor, Augustus III (b. 1696 – d. 1763), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, for the Japanese Palace in Dresden [see note 1]. By 1955, Otto Buel, Lucerne [see note 2]. By 1967, Winston Frederick Churchill Guest (b. 1906 - d. 1982), Palm Beach and Long Island; December 2, 1967, Guest sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, lot 103, to the Antique Porcelain Company, New York; December 5, 1967, sold by the Antique Porcelain Company to Edward M. Pflueger (b. 1905 - d. 1997) and Kiyi Powers Pflueger (b. 1915 - d. 2008), New York; 2006, bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 26, 2006) Notes: [1] Augustus II (“the Strong”) began building the Japanese Palace in Dresden in 1725 and commissioned more than 35,000 porcelain works from the nearby Meissen porcelain manufactory to furnish his "porcelain palace." The original collection featured more than 500 large bird and animal figures; among these were 37 animal species and 32 bird species. Augustus II died in 1733 and his son Augustus III took over the project. The Japanese Palace became a museum and library after the death of Augustus III, and parts of the collection were sold and traded in the 18th and 19th centuries. [2] This peacock was shown as item 56 at the 1955 exhibition at the Kunsthaus, Zürich, by the Keramic-Freunde der Schweiz, "Schönheit des 18 Jahrhunderts," and illustrated in the catalogue; at that time the peacock was the propoerty of the Lucerne art-dealer Otto Buel.

    Credit Line

    Kiyi and Edward M. Pflueger Collection. Bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and Gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 114.3 cm (45 in.) Weight (estimated): 85 lb. (38.56 kg)

    Accession Number

    2006.923

    Medium or Technique

    Hard-paste porcelain

    On View

    Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Ceramics

    More Info
  • Cruet for Oil and Vinegar

    Italian (Florence)
    1575–87
    Made by Medici Factory, Italy (Italian)

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    This cruet for oil and vinegar is one of only about sixty surviving pieces produced at the Medici porcelain workshop between 1575 and 1587. Established by Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici, the workshop was the first in Europe to imitate successfully the coveted porcelains imported from China.

    Provenance

    Henry Williamson Haynes (born, Bangor, Maine, September 20, 1831 - died, Boston, February 16, 1912); 1912, gift of the estate of Henry Williamson Haynes through Miss Sarah H. Blanchard. (Accession Date: July 18, 1912)

    Credit Line

    Gift of the Estate of Professor Henry Williamson through Miss Sarah H. Blanchard

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 17.1 x 14 x 8.9 cm (6 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    12.717

    Medium or Technique

    Soft-paste porcelain, underglaze blue decoration

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Ceramics, Porcelain

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  • Madonna of the Clouds

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1425–35
    Donatello (Italian, 1386–1466)

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Marble. Madonna and child with angels, cherubs


    Donatello was one of the most innovative sculptors in the history of European sculpture. He carved this image in flattened relief (rilievo schiacciato), a technique, which he invented, in which a sculptor could create the illusion of volumetric forms set into deep, continuous space with the most subtle and shallow carving. The Madonna sits as if on the ground, to convey the idea of humility, but Donatello sets her in the clouds, so she also becomes Queen of Heaven. A feeling of weighty foreboding is expressed in the Madonna’s somber profile, which seems to look into the Christ Child’s tragic future.

    Provenance

    By 1902, Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston [see note 1]; 1917, gift of Quincy Adams Shaw, through Quincy Adams Shaw Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917) NOTES: [1] Exactly when and how Quincy Adams Shaw acquired the relief is not known. Wilhelm von Bode stated that it had been in a church in Rome; see his "Denkmäler der Renaissance-Sculptur Toscanas" (Munich, 1892-1905), text vol., p. 42. However, Georg Swarzenski ("Donatello's 'Madonna in the Clouds' and Fra Bartolommeo," Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts, vol. 40, no. 240, August, 1942, p. 68) casts serious doubts upon this hypothesis. It was certainly in his possession by 1902, when Bode published it, in "Florentiner Bildhauer der Renaissance" (Berlin, 1902), pp. 119-120 and p. 200, fig. 87, as in the Shaw collection.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr. and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton

    Details

    Dimensions

    33.1 x 32 cm (13 1/16 x 12 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1470

    Medium or Technique

    Stone; marble

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
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  • Andiron

    French (Paris)
    about 1785
    Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire (French, 1751–1843)

    Object Place: Paris, France

    Description

    Pair of andirons. Each comprising two goats with forelegs balancing on central urn and with grapes in their ouths; a thyrsus with pinecone finial extending vertically between them. The base decorated with gilt-bronze relief of cupids and grape vines against an enamel ground.


    This andiron (one of a pair in the Museum’s collection) evokes the splendors of prerevolutionary France. It is made of bronze, coated with a thin layer of gold, a process involving the application of mercury that burned off in the firing, unwittingly exposing workers to the deadly effects of this toxic element.
    The refined technique of the andirons suggests that they are the work of Thomire, a prominent French bronzeworker. However, they may well represent the collaborative effort of many individual specialists in modeling, casting, chiseling, and gilding. The design features goats eating grapes from a basket, while below them, against a background originally covered with blue enamel, two cherubs shear a ram. The andirons may have been made for the Hameau, Queen Marie Antoinette’s self-consciously rustic farm.

    Provenance

    By 1788, in the dining room of the Queen's House, part of the Hameau (Hamlet) of Marie-Antoinette, near the Château of Versailles; September 30, 1793, sold as part of the contents of the Château of Versailles, lot no. 2354, and bought by Rocheux, dealer. 1794-1796, probably acquired in Paris by James Swan, Boston, MA [see note 1]; after 1796, with his wife Hepzibah Clark Swan (d. 1825), Dorchester, MA; 1825, after her death, by inheritance to their daughter, Mrs. John C. Howard; by inheritance to her granddaughter, Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol; 1927, bequeathed by Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol. (Accession date: September 8, 1927) NOTES: [1] James Swan was a merchant established in Paris, and was appointed an official agent for the purchase of supplies in the United States in 1794 by the French Government. His partner was Johann-Caspar Schweizer, a Swiss. According to Howard Rice, the French Government placed at his disposal luxury goods to be exchanged in America for food supplies and war materials. The Swan and Schweizer agency shipped these articles to the United States between 1794-1795, where much of it was sold. However, this piece was among those that Swan kept for his personal use. See H. Rice "James Swan, Agent of the French Republic 1794-1796" The New England Quarterly, Vol. X, No. 3, Sept. 1937, p. 464-486.

    Credit Line

    Swan Collection—Bequest of Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height of each andiron: 48.3 cm (19 in.)

    Accession Number

    27.521.1-2

    Medium or Technique

    Gilt bronze, silver-plated copper plaque decorated with oil-based paint containing Prussian blue pigment

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Metalwork

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  • Thomas Jefferson

    French (Paris)
    1789
    Jean-Antoine Houdon (French, 1741–1828)

    Description

    Saravezza marble on gray and white marble base. Head turned slightly to right. Contemporary costume coat with standing collar, waistcoat with buttons, stock. Long hair tied at nape of neck; part of bow knot missing.


    The best-known likeness of the man who would be elected president in 1800, this bust captures the keen intelligence of the sitter and demonstrates Houdon’s superb talent for characterization. In 1785 Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) succeeded Benjamin Franklin as American minister to France. Jefferson immersed himself in the artistic and cultural life of Paris, studying firsthand neoclassical architecture and actively collecting books, prints, and works of art. Houdon, described by Jefferson as “perhaps the foremost artist in the world,” executed this startlingly lifelike bust in Paris shortly before Jefferson returned to the United States to assume the position of secretary of state.

    Signed

    Signed and dated "houdon f 1789".

    Provenance

    By the late 18th century, Count Antoine-Louis-Claude Destutt de Tracy (b. 1754- d. 1836), Château de Paray, Melun, France [see note 1]; 1839, by descent to Jacques Louis Leopold de Chateauvieux (d. 1868), Melun; 1868, by inheritance to his son, Ferdinand Le Clercq de Chateauvieux [see note 2]; 1916, by inheritance to his son, P. Le Clercq de Chateauvieux; 1928, sold by Le Clercq de Chateauvieux to Jean L. Souffrice, Neuilly-sur-Seine [see note 3]; 1934, sold by Souffrice, through the Marie Sterner Gallery, New York, to the MFA for $35,000. (Accession Date: April 5, 1934) NOTES: [1] The provenance of this object is taken from the translation of a statement signed by its former owner, P. Le Clerq de Chateauvieux (May 3, 1934; copy in MFA curatorial file). The sculpture is said to have been in the possession of the Destutt family at the end of the 18th century; "Monsieur de Destutt was a great friend of Jefferson who presented him with this bust before leaving France to return to America." This statement has not been verified; it has also been suggested that it was commissioned from the artist by the Destutt family (letter from Alfred L. Bush, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Princeton, to the MFA, October 27, 1959). Leclerq de Chateauvieux writes that the sculpture passed into his family's collection in 1839, by descent and continues, "This bust was in my family home in Melun until 1869 and then became the possession of my father Ferdinand Le Clerq de Chateauvieux .... I inherited this bust at the death of my father in 1916." [2] This is verified by the translation of a statement addressed to the Intendant, Hôtel de Chateauvieux, Melun, signed by M. Villeminaux (April 16, 1868; copy in MFA curatorial file). [3] P. Leclerq de Chateauvieux (as above, n. 1) states that he decided to sell the bust when he received a commission to go to Morocco. When it was authenticated by Georges Giacometti, Paris (December 9, 1929, copy in MFA curatorial file), it is said to have remained in the Château de Paray until 1928. In a letter from Jacques Furst, Marie Sterner Gallery, to the MFA (March 30, 1934), it is said to have been purchased "by the present [gallery]" in 1928. Sterner Gallery acted as Souffrice's agent in the sale of the sculpture in 1934.

    Credit Line

    George Nixon Black Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    56.5 x 48 x 26 cm (22 1/4 x 18 7/8 x 10 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    34.129

    Medium or Technique

    Stone; marble

    On View

    Kristin and Roger Servison Gallery (Gallery 133)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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  • Vase

    (Vase Bachelier)

    French
    1779
    Painted by Antoine Caton (French, active 1749–1797), Painted by Charles Buteux, l'aîné (French, active 1756–1782), Gilder Etienne-Henri Le Guay aîné, père (French, 1719-1799, active at Sèvres 1742–43, 1748–49, 1751–96), Made at Sèvres Manufactory (France)

    Description

    Dark blue ground, with reserves painted with scenes from the life of Belisarius. Military trophy depicted in reserve on bac.


    Depicted on this vase and its pair, also in the MFA’s collection, are episodes from the life of Belisarius (about 505-565). A celebrated general under the Byzantine emperor Justinian, Belisarius was falsely accused of conspiracy, disgraced, and blinded. A popular subject in eighteenth-century French painting and literature, his story illustrated fortitude in the face of adversity and the transience of fame.

    Provenance

    1788/9, probably the pair of vases recorded in the Cabinet de Conseil of Louis XVI at the Château of Versailles, France [see note 1]. December 22, 1791, transferred to the Tuileries Palace, Paris. 1794-1796, acquired as a pair in Paris by James Swan, Boston, MA [see note 2]; after 1796, with his wife Hepzibah Clark Swan (d. 1825), Dorchester, MA; 1825, after her death, one of the vases, by inheritance to their daughter, Mrs. John T. Sargent (d. 1867) [see note 3]; 1868, sold posthumously at Leonard's, Boston, and bought by Francis Jaques; by inheritance to his daughter Helen L. Jaques; after her death, by inheritance to her heirs; 1938, gift of the heirs of Helen L. Jaques to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 14, 1938) NOTES: [1] This pair of vases is most probably the pair listed in a porcelain inventory of the Château of Versailles, 1788/9, now at Archives Nationales, Paris, see M. Brunet and T. Préaud, "Sèvres, des origines à nos jours" [2] James Swan was a merchant established in Paris, and was appointed an official agent for the purchase of supplies in the United States in 1794 by the French Government. His partner was Johann-Caspar Schweizer, a Swiss. According to Howard Rice, the French Government placed at his disposal luxury goods to be exchanged in America for food supplies and war materials. The Swan and Schweizer agency shipped these articles to the United States between 1794-1795, where much of it was sold. However, this piece was among those that Swan kept for his personal use. See H. Rice, "James Swan, Agent of the French Republic 1794-1796" The New England Quarterly, Vol. X, No. 3, Sept. 1937, p. 464-486. [3] See MFA object, Acc. No. 27.534a-b.

    Credit Line

    Gift of the heirs of Helen L. Jaques

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 71.1 cm (28 in.)

    Accession Number

    38.65a-b

    Medium or Technique

    Soft-paste porcelain with polychrome enamels and gold

    On View

    Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Ceramics

    More Info
  • Architecture

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1600
    Giambologna (Jean Boulogne) (Flemish (worked in Italy), 1529–1608)

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Figure of “Architecture”. Nude female figure wearing fillet, drapery over right leg, holding in right hand a drawing instruments and in her left a drawing board. Signed on lower edge of drawing, GIO BOLONGE.


    Personifying Architecture, this figure holds a framing square, protractor, and compass. The bronze’s surface finish is of the highest quality, and the graceful, twisting pose and turn of the head encourage viewing from all sides.

    Signed

    Signed on lower edge of tablet, GIO BOLONGE.

    Provenance

    Edmund Hegan Kennard (b. 1834 - d. 1912), London [see note 1]. By December 1937, with Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., Inc., New York [see note 2]; by October, 1938, sold by Seligmann [see note 3]. M. Knoedler and Co., London; sold by Knoedler to Clendenin James Ryan (b. 1882 - d. 1939); January 19-20, 1940, posthumous Ryan sale, Parke Bernet, New York, to Paul M. Byk of Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., for the MFA for $2420. (Accession Date: February 8, 1940) NOTES: [1] According to the Ryan auction cataloge ("Gothic and Renaissance Paintings and British XVIII Century Portraits," Parke Bernet Galleries, January 19-20, 1940, p. 125, cat. no. 270). [2] In a letter from Paul M. Byk of Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co. to George Edgell, MFA (December 4, 1937), the sculpture is referred to as "our" bronze -- i.e., in the possession of the gallery -- but "still in Europe". It was probably at the Paris branch of Arnold Seligmann et Cie. [3] See letter from Byk to Edwin J. Hipkiss of the MFA (October 6, 1938; in MFA curatorial file). He does not specify to whom it was sold.

    Credit Line

    Maria Antoinette Evans Fund and 1931 Purchase Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 45.1 x 12.1 x 15.2 cm (17 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 6 in.)

    Accession Number

    40.23

    Medium or Technique

    Metal; Bronze; marble base

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Samson and Lion Aquamanile

    Northern German (possibly Schleswig-Holstein)
    Medieval (Gothic)
    early 14th century

    Description

    Pouring vessel in the shape of Samson battling the lion with the lion’s tail arranged as a handle, an aperture for filling in the top of Samson’s head, and a spout in the shape of a beast head below the lion’s left ear. Cast in one piece, chased and punched. Represented at the moment he springs onto the back of the lion, Samson rests his left leg on one side of the animal, while pressing the lion’s front ribs with his right leg, the knee bent outward. The lion, as if caught by surprise, twists his head backward to face his adversary, who grasps his open jaws. Samson’s head is adorned by a narrow band and finely delineated long wavy hair streaming down his back. He wears pointed shoes marked by rows of dots and parallel lines, those ornamented on the right thigh with an eight-pointed rosette, and a short tunic. The latter falls in vertical folds gathered at the waist and decorated with groups of four punched dots forming a lozenge and a band containing a row of punched dots along the edges. The mantle draped over Samson’s back has a pattern (resembling that of a Near Eastern textile) with a row of large circles containing smaller concentric punched circles and dots; pointed leaves fill the interstices and lower border. The oval face bears a slight smile and large almond eyes with double edges.
    The stocky lion, with its finely modeled mane arranged in curled tufts, has a collar with a row of punched dots running around the face from ear to ear and an s-shaped tail with tufts resembling flames attached to Samson’s back. The ears are nearly round cavities with hatchings on the edges to indicate fur; the double-edged elongated eyes have deeply incised pupils. A band of hatching for the eyebrows continues along the side of the nose and the face, delineating the snout decorated with punched dots. The open mouth with tongue curled over the side shows four triangular teeth in the front and smaller teeth in back. Legs are marked at the top by parallel rows of punched dots (extending up to the shoulder on the front legs) and at the bottom on the outside by a row of dots between thin vertical ribs (suggesting tendons and bones) with hatchings (indicating fur) on either side. The latter pattern is repeated on the underside in front of the genitals. An undulating surface on the claws reveals bone structure and cavities from shrinkage underneath.
    There are small square copper pins (arranged symmetrically) to plug holes for the chaplets, a cast-on patch filling a rectangular hole (probably for removal of the core) on the lion’s chest, and a cast-on repair on the lion’s face.


    Aquamaniles are vessels to hold the water used for washing hands. First used by priests during religious ceremonies, aquamaniles later appeared on the table in monasteries and noble households. Produced in large numbers between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, aquamaniles took many forms, including knights on horseback, dragons, and lions. This rare narrative example represents the Old Testament story of Samson wrestling a lion. Christians interpreted this event as a prefiguration of Christ’s conquest of the Devil.

    Provenance

    Probably by 1470, parish church of Oberachern, Germany; 1881, sold by the church to a private collector (?) [see note 1]. By 1888, Albert Figdor (b. 1843 - d. 1927), Vienna [see note 2]; September 29, 1930, posthumous Figdor sale, Cassirer, Berlin, lot 514, to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. H99) and Dr. Jacob Hirsch, New York, for 106,000 M [see note 3]; 1940, sold by Brummer and Hirsch to the MFA for $42,000. (Accession Date: May 9, 1940) NOTES: [1] This may be the aquamanile mentioned in a document (May 7, 1470) as having been given by Johanns von Bergazbern (b. 1447 - d. 1475) to his church at Oberachern. See K. Reinfried, "Kleinere Mitteilungen," Freiburger Diöcesan-Archiv 21 (1890): 303-307, where the aquamanile is said to have been sold in 1881 to a "princely cabinet of rarities" -- whether this refers to Figdor's collection is not known. Curt Engel, "Fusswaschung seit fünf Jahrhunderten," (Source unknown; copy, from a German newspaper, in MFA curatorial file), April 19/20, 1973, states that it went to Frankfurt before entering the Figdor collection. Whether it went to Figdor through a Frankfurt dealer is not specified. [2] Jakob von Falke, Geschichte des Deutschen Kunstgewerbes (Berlin, 1888), 56, fig. 16. [3] The sale results were published by Jakob Rosenberg, "Die Berliner Versteigerung Figdor," Kunst und Künstler 29 (November, 1930): 86-87. On Brummer's inventory card, the object is said to be "in half ownership with Dr. Hirsch."

    Credit Line

    Benjamin Shelton Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    34 x 36.8 x 11.4 cm (13 3/8 x 14 1/2 x 4 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    40.233

    Medium or Technique

    Leaded latten (81.7% copper, 9.9% tin, 7% lead, 1.4% zinc)

    On View

    Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Metalwork

    More Info
  • Plate depicting the story of Perseus and Andromeda from the Isabella d'Este service

    Italian (Urbino)
    Renaissance
    about 1524
    Painted by Nicola da Urbino (Italian, active by 1520, died in 1537–38)

    Description

    This plate forms part of an original set of 24 with the emblems of Isabella d’Este-Gonzaga (1474-1539), wife of Francesco Gonzaga and celebrated Renaissance patron of the arts. The set is painted with mythological scenes, mostly from prints after Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with the exception of two Biblical subjects. The plates include the arms of Gonzaga impaling Este as well as several of Isabella’s imprese (emblems) and devices. Represented is a scene of the young Perseus who, after having slain Medusa, came to the rescue of Andromeda. She had been chained to a rock by the wrathful sea God, Poseidon and subjected to a terrible sea monster. Perseus killed the monster, freed and later married her.


    This plate is one of twenty-two surviving pieces of a splendid service made for Isabella d’Este, duchess of Mantua; it bears her coat-of-arms in the center. In spite of being constantly short of money, Isabella was an ambitious patron of the arts with, as she admitted, an “insatiable desire” for ancient Greek and Roman art.
    Tin-glazed earthenware, known as maiolica, was often decorated during this period with scenes from classical mythology. This plate features the exploits of the mythological Greek hero Perseus who beheaded the snake-haired gorgon Medusa (whose head he holds, at left) and rescued the princess Andromeda, chained to a rock by a monster. The composition is derived from a woodcut in a 1497 edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

    Provenance

    About 1524, Isabella d'Este (b. 1474 - d. 1539), Mantua (original commission) [see note 1]. Baron Gustave de Rothschild (b. 1829 - d. 1911); by descent to his grandson, Baron Henri de Lambert (b. 1887 - d. 1933) and his wife, Baroness Johanna von Reininghaus de Lambert (b. 1899 - d. 1960), Brussels and New York; March 7, 1941, Baroness Lambert sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, lot 94, to Arnold, Seligmann Rey and Co., New York, for the MFA for $1100. (Accession Date: March 13, 1941) NOTES: [1] This is one in a service of 21 plates made for Isabella d'Este, wife of Gian Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua. See J. V. G. Mallet, "Mantua and Urbino: Gonzaga Patronage of Maiolica," Apollo, September 1981, pp. 162-169 and ibid., "The Gonzaga and Ceramics," in exh. cat. "Splendours of the Gonzaga," ed. David Chambers and Jane Martineau (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, November 4, 1981 - January 31, 1982), pp. 39-43.

    Credit Line

    Otis Norcross Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Diam: 26.8 cm (10 9/16 in.); Height: 5.1 cm (2 in.)

    Accession Number

    41.105

    Medium or Technique

    Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware

    More Info
  • Baptism of Christ

    French (Limoges)
    Medieval
    mid-13th century
    Made at Limoges (France)

    Object Place: Limoges, France

    Description

    Relief with three pinholes (in the ewer and lower corners) representing John the Baptist in three-quarter view pouring water from a ewer over a nimbed frontal Christ. With his right arm raised in benediction, Christ stands immersed to the thighs in water (the river Jordan). Single copper sheet, repoussé (into a mold), cut out, champlevé, engraved, chased, enameled, and gilded. The blue glass eyes are inset. Both figures have finely chased long hair and beards. Curved segments of white enamel indicate the movement of the water, in which fish are in reserve and engraved. All except two swim to the left. Saint John’s garment is chased to indicate fur on the outside.


    This relief was originally one of several scenes from the life of Christ that were mounted on a flat plaque that decorated an altar. It is of exceptional quality, with the gilded-copper surface skillfully worked to capture the textures of hair, fur, and water. The relief is unusual in showing John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in two ways—by pouring water from a ewer over his head and by immersing him in the river Jordan. Jesus, his hand raised in blessing, stands in water whose ripples are suggested by curved segments of white enamel interspersed with shapes of swimming fish.

    Provenance

    By 1865, Albert Germeau (d. by 1868), France [see note 1]; May 5, 1868, Germeau sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, lot 51. By 1880, Princess Isabella Dzialynska (née Czartoryski) (b. 1832 - d. 1899), Goluchow Castle, Poznan, Poland; until World War II, by descent within Czartoryski family [see note 2]. By 1950, J. Pollack (dealer), Paris; sold by Pollack to Wildenstein and Co., New York; 1950, sold by Wildenstein to the MFA [see note 3]. (Accession Date: May 11, 1950) NOTES: [1] Albert Germeau was the prefect of Oise, France, in 1838. [2] During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Czartoryski family were celebrated collectors of art in Poland. They housed their collections in the Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, and the Goluchow Castle, Poznan. With the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the family hid much of their collection behind a fake wall at Sieniawa Palace (outside Kraków), in the basement of the museum, and in a relative's home in Pewkinie. Nazis eventually discovered and confiscated many of these works of art, which were moved about several times during the war. While Allied forces restituted much of the collection after the war, many objects had been traded, lost, and looted and were not returned to the Czartoryski family. [3] In 1951, Prince Wladyslaw Czartoryski of London filed a lawsuit notifying both Wildenstein and the MFA that this object and another enamel (MFA no. 51.7) had been unlawfully seized by the Nazis from his family's collection during World War II. A settlement was ultimately reached among all parties, giving the MFA full ownership of both enamels. Prince Czartoryski signed an agreement on July 11, 1955 assigning legal ownership of the objects to Wildenstein and the MFA (in MFA curatorial file). It was further arranged between Wildenstein and the MFA that the museum was the full owner of the enamels; this is documented in a letter from Georges Wildenstein to Georg Swarzenski of the MFA (June 30, 1955; in MFA curatorial file).

    Credit Line

    Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912

    Details

    Dimensions

    36.8 x 21.1 x 2.8 cm (14 1/2 x 8 5/16 x 1 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    50.858

    Medium or Technique

    Champlevé enamel and gilding on copper

    On View

    I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Enamels

    More Info
  • Three Worthies in the Fiery Furnace

    Meuse Region (Maastricht ?)
    Medieval
    about 1150–75
    Maker Unidentified

    Description

    Slightly convex plaque shaped like a scale with beaded border on the round edge and six pinholes. Hammered, tooled, champlevé, enameled, and gilded. Enamel colors are lapis blue (two shades), azure blue, light blue, white, turquoise, yellow, green, and red in single and mixed fields of up to three colors. A bending angel (inscribed ANGEL[US] with spread wings and arms strikes the flames from the furnace with the three Worthies, Ananias, Azarias, and Misael. They carry a scroll inscribed with their song: BENEDICT[US] ES D[OMI]NE D[EU]S PATRU[M] NOSTROR[UM] ET GLORIOS[US] I]N] S[AE]C[U]LA. With azure-blue halos edged in turquoise, the Worthies, dressed in lapis-blue tunics, stand against a gold ground under a lapis blue scalloped arch and red and turquoise flames. With a cross in his nimbus, Azarias, frontal and in the center, wears a turquoise ephod studded with jewels. The angel, with a turquoise halo edged in light blue and white, has a gold crown with flying ribbons. His tunic is modeled in yellow, green, turquoise, and lapis blue, and his mantle, with a semirosette on the thigh, has folds shaded from a lapis blue to white. Hair is lapis blue with curls outlined in reserve; flesh is white, and faces are all drawn according to the same formula. The almond-shaped eyes have lapis-blue dots; mouths are red, bordered by two parallel lines in reserve. Bound on the outside by a lapis-blue border with stylized leaves outlined in reserve and on the inside by a narrow white band, the scene is described by an inscription: NEC PUEROS LEDIT VESANI REGIS ET IGNIS. NEC MATRIS NATUS DISOLUIT CLAUSTRA PUDORIS.


    Composition, color, and technical precision place this large plaque among the finest examples of medieval enamelwork to survive. It tells the Old Testament story of the Three Worthies who refused to worship a golden image and were cast into a furnace where they “walked about in the midst of the flames, singing hymns to God and blessing the Lord. Then Azariah stood and offered this prayer: ‘Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers, and worthy of praise; and thy name is glorified for ever.’” Hearing this, an angel “drove the fiery flame out of the furnace … so that the fire did not touch them at all or hurt or trouble them.” In the Middle Ages, many Old Testament stories were viewed as precursors of New Testament ones; the Three Worthies prefigured the purity of the Virgin, as the encircling inscription here makes clear: “Neither the fury of the King nor the fire can harm the youths, nor can the birth of the Mother destroy the seal of her Virginity.”

    Provenance

    By 1853, Princess Isabella Dzialynska (née Czartoryski) (b. 1832 - d. 1899), Goluchow Castle, Poznan, Poland; until World War II, by descent within Czartoryski family [see note 1]. By 1950, J. Pollack (dealer), Paris; sold by Pollack to Wildenstein and Co., New York; 1951, sold by Wildenstein to the MFA [see note 2]. (Accession Date: January 11, 1951) NOTES: [1] During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Czartoryski family were celebrated collectors of art in Poland. They housed their collections in the Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, and the Goluchow Castle, Poznan. With the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the family hid much of their collection behind a fake wall at Sieniawa Palace (outside Kraków), in the basement of the museum, and in a relative's home in Pewkinie. Nazis eventually discovered and confiscated many of these works of art, which were moved about several times during the war. While Allied forces restituted much of the collection after the war, many objects had been traded, lost, and looted and were not returned to the Czartoryski family. [2] In 1951, Prince Wladyslaw Czartoryski of London filed a lawsuit notifying both Wildenstein and the MFA that this object and another enamel (MFA no. 50.858) had been unlawfully seized by the Nazis from his family's collection during World War II. A settlement was ultimately reached among all parties, giving the MFA full ownership of both enamels. Prince Czartoryski signed an agreement on July 11, 1955 assigning legal ownership of the objects to Wildenstein and the MFA (in MFA curatorial file). It was further arranged between Wildenstein and the MFA that the museum was the full owner of the enamels; this is documented in a letter from Georges Wildenstein to Georg Swarzenski of the MFA (June 30, 1955; in MFA curatorial file).

    Credit Line

    William Francis Warden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 20.8 x 22.7 cm (8 3/16 x 8 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    51.7

    Medium or Technique

    Champlevé enamel and gilding on copper

    On View

    I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Enamels

    More Info
  • Spoon

    South Netherlandish
    Medieval (Gothic)
    about 1430

    Object Place: Europe, Southern Netherlands

    Description

    The silver spoon is composed of several pieces: a painted enamel bowl with an applied gilded silver edge and central strip on the back; a cast lion head joining the stem and the bowl; a silver stem wound with a gilded silver band to create a spiral field for enamel; and a gilded silver floral finial cast in two pieces. The figures in grisaille and the triangular treetops and rain in gold are painted over a lapis-blue enamel ground. The stem has traces of green and blue enamel. The fig-shaped bowl appearing to emanate from the mouth of the lion shows, on the inside, a fox standing in a pulpit and wrapped in a monk’s habit with three dead geese, whose heads emanate from the cowl. The fox preaches from a charter with a dangling seal (on which only the word “pax” is legible) to a flock of geese who stand on a hillside. Another fox, seated below the pulpit, seizes one of the congregants. Above a fleeing goose is a scroll with an undecipherable inscription. At the top of the scene, on both the front and the back sides of the bowl, golden rain and rays emanate from a small cloud. The back side shows a dense forest of trees on hilly ground.


    On the bowl of this spoon, a fox dressed as a monk and carrying three dead geese in his cowl holds a document bearing the word “pax” (peace). He is preaching to a flock of geese, while another fox seizes one of the congregation. The perceived hypocrisy of the clergy was frequently mocked in the late Middle Ages, and the inspiration for the decoration of this spoon may have been a well-known proverb, “When the fox preaches beware your geese.” Or the scene may be drawn from a Flemish version of the immensely popular Roman de Renart, a collection of stories (featuring Renart the fox) in which animals live in a society modeled on that of medieval France. The spoon is one of a group of luxury objects that are believed to have been made for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, a great patron of the arts who amassed large collections of tapestries, paintings, metalwork, illustrated books, and jewels.

    Provenance

    About 1430, possibly part of a table service made for Philip the Good (b. 1396 - d. 1467), 3rd Valois Duke of Burgundy (r. 1419-1467), Dijon and Bruges (original commission?) [see note 1]. Princes of Anhalt, Dessau, Germany. 1927, with A.S. Drey, Munich [see note 2]. By 1931, Baron Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (b. 1843 - d. 1940), Frankfurt [see note 3]; about 1949/1950, probably sold by the heirs of Goldschmidt-Rothschild to Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York [see note 4]; 1951, sold by Rosenberg and Stiebel to the MFA for $2250. (Accession Date: November 8, 1951) NOTES: [1] Philip the Good adopted the colors (black, gray, and white) of this spoon and other, similar enamels after the death of his father, John the Fearless, in 1419. The objects may have belonged to the same table set. For further information, see Hanns Swarzenski and Nancy Netzer, "Catalogue of Medieval Objects: Enamels and Glass" (Boston: MFA, 1986), pp.122-124, cat. no. 43. [2] Phillipe Verdier, "A Medallion of the 'Ara Coeli' and the Netherlandish Enamels of the Fifteenth Centuries," Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 19-20 (1956-1957), p. 30, n. 69. [3] Heinrich Kohlhaussen, "Niederländisch Schmelzwerk," Jahrbuch der preuszischen Kunstsammlungen 52 (1931), p. 154, n. 3, recorded it as already in the Goldschmidt-Rothschild collection. In November 1938 Nazi authorities forced Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild to sell his art collection to the city of Frankfurt. Upon his death in 1940, the objects were transferred to and accessioned by various city museums. After the war, his heirs succeeded in legally voiding the 1938 sale and recuperating the collection, which was sent to the United States. See "Important French Furniture & Objets d'Art," Goldschmidt-Rothschild estate sale, part one, Parke-Bernet, New York, March 10-11, 1950, prefatory note. [4] Rosenberg and Stiebel sold a number of works of art for members of the Rothschild family at this time.

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 17.6 x 4.9 x 2.6 cm (6 15/16 x 1 15/16 x 1 in.)

    Accession Number

    51.2472

    Medium or Technique

    Painted enamel and gilding on silver

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Enamels

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  • Reliquary casket ("Emly Shrine")

    Irish
    Early medieval
    late 7th–early 8th century

    Place of Manufacture: Ireland

    Description

    Carved from a single block of wood, the body and lid have bronze moldings applied with small nails on the edges. Attached to the ridgepole of the sloped roof are bird’s-head terminals in green, yellow and red (now brown) enamel and a central boss-repeating the shape of the shrine- with a grid of yellow and green enamel. Only the front is decorated with thin strips of a lead-tin alloy hammered into a repetitive step pattern around central crosses engraved in the wood and with three medallions with yellow and green enamel arranged in a geometric pattern of concentric circles. There are two hinges on the back and an interior clasp on the front.


    Made to hold the sacred relics of a saint (often parts of the saint’s body), Irish house-shaped reliquaries have been discovered as far away as Norway and Italy—carried there by Irish pilgrims or Viking raiders. This one, however, was found in Ireland and is named for its nineteenth century owner, Lord Emly of Limerick. It is quite tiny and was probably hung from the neck or shoulder of its owner as a source of protection and spiritual strength.

    Provenance

    By 1853, William Monsell (b. 1812 - d. 1894), 1st Baron Emly of Tervoe, Limerick County, Ireland [see note 1]; until 1952, by descent within the family; 1952, sold by Lord Emly (probably Edmond Alan Tremeur de Poher de la Poer-Monsell) to the MFA for $22,874. (Accession Date: October 9, 1952) NOTES: [1] It was in his possession by 1853, when he lent it to the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.

    Credit Line

    Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour

    Details

    Dimensions

    9.2 x 4.1 x 10.5 cm (3 5/8 x 1 5/8 x 4 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    52.1396

    Medium or Technique

    Champlevé enamel on bronze over yew wood; gilt bronze moldings, inlay of lead-tin alloy

    On View

    I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Enamels

    More Info
  • Oliphant

    Southern Italy (probably Amalfi)
    about 1100

    Object Place: Europe, Amalfi, Southern Italy

    Description

    Elephant tusk carved in sharp relief with six wide bands depicting graphic hunting scenes of wolves attacking a deer, an eagle clutching a rabbit in its talons, and lions attacking a bull, alternating with narrow bands of zigzag ornament. Later iron chain.


    Oliphant is the medieval French word for elephant. African elephant ivory, one of the most precious materials used in medieval art came to southern Italian ports through trade with the Islamic East as early as the tenth century. Oliphants were primarily intended for display although are fashioned like horns for hunting and war. The graphic hunting scenes carved on one oliphant in this case may allude to the owner’s prowess on the fields of battle and the hunt. The delicate, abstract carving on the second oliphant reflects the influence of Egyptian art and the cultural exchanges resulting from international trade.

    Provenance

    About 1750, acquired by Anselm Kasimir, Graf zu Eltz [see note 1]; until 1957, by descent within the family to Jakob Graf zu Eltz, Eltville, Germany; 1957, sold by Graf zu Eltz, through Count Ernst Otto von Solms-Laubach (b. 1890 - d. 1977), Frankfurt, to the MFA for $25,000. (Accession Date: October 9, 1957). NOTES: [1] The provenance of the oliphant was established with the generous assistance of Dr. Karl Graf zu Eltz.

    Credit Line

    Maria Antoinette Evans Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    53.4 cm (21 in.)

    Accession Number

    57.581

    Medium or Technique

    Ivory

    On View

    I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Decorative arts

    More Info
  • Soyez amoureuses vous serez heureuses (Be In Love and You Will Be Happy)

    French
    1889
    Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)

    Object Place: Europe, France

    Description

    Carved and polychromed wood panel in original frame. “Soyez amoureuses vous serez heureuses” on arch amid figures and faces. Gauguin grasping hand of nude woman seated at left. Mourning female nude, cat and flowers at right.


    Gauguin accorded great importance to his sculptures. His childhood memories of Peru, a trip to Martinique, and the African art he saw at the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris stimulated his interest in “primitive” civilizations and prompted him to convey the same spontaneity and vigor in his own work. This relief was carved during one of Gauguin’s immensely productive visits to Pont-Aven, in Brittany. He wrote that he considered it “the best and strangest thing I have ever done in sculpture. Gauguin (as monster) seizing the hand of a protesting woman and telling her: ‘Be in love and you will be happy.’” Much about this sculpture foreshadows the art Gauguin created after he left France for the islands of the South Pacific.

    Provenance

    1889 until 1893, with the Galerie Goupil (Boussod et Valadon), Paris [see note 1]. 1907, private collection [see note 2]. Émile Schuffenecker (b. 1851 - d. 1934), Paris; by 1928, his brother, Amédée Schuffenecker (b. 1854 - d. 1936), Saint-Maur; 1936, by inheritance to his niece (Émile's daughter), Jeanne Schuffenecker, Paris [see note 3]. By 1949, private collection (possibly Margaret Thompson Biddle, b. 1902 - d. 1956), Paris [see note 4]; June 14, 1957, posthumous Biddle sale, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, lot A, to Huguette Berès (b. 1914 - d. 1999), Paris, for the MFA for $33,887.71. (Accession Date: September 12, 1957) NOTES: [1] Gauguin consigned the sculpture for sale to the Galerie Goupil; in 1893 it was returned to him at the studio of Daniel de Monfried. See George T. M. Shackelford, introduction to Gauguin Tahiti (exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2003), pp. 7, 10-11, and p. 342 (Chronology), and Christopher Gray, Sculpture and Ceramics of Paul Gauguin (New York, 1983), pp. 42, 195, and 207. [2] Lent from a private collection to the exhibition "Paul Gauguin" (Galerie Miethke, Vienna, March-April, 1907), cat. no. 6. Whether Schuffenecker already owned it at this time, and was the private collector listed in the catalogue, is not known. [3] In 1928, Amédée Schuffenecker lent the sculpture to Musée du Luxembourg and in 1932, he offered it for purchase to the French government. Upon his death the sculpture was inherited by his niece. See Anne Pingeot, "The House of Pleasure: Tahiti and the Marquesas, 1895-1903,” in Gauguin Tahiti (as above, n. 1), pp. 264-265. [4] The sculpture was lent from a private collection to "Gauguin, Exposition du Centenaire" (Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, 1949), cat. no. 80 and "Gauguin" (Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, February 15 - April 16, 1950), cat. no. 50. It may have been owned at this time by Margaret Thompson Biddle, in whose posthumous auction it was included in 1957.

    Credit Line

    Arthur Tracy Cabot Fund

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Gray 076

    Dimensions

    95 x 72 x 6.4 cm (37 3/8 x 28 3/8 x 2 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    57.582

    Medium or Technique

    Carved and painted linden wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Virgin and Child

    Italian (Lombardy or Emilia-Romagna)
    Medieval (Romanesque)
    1125-1150
    Unidentified artist

    Object Place: Europe, Italy, Lombardy or Emilia-Romagna

    Description

    This image is an early example in Italian sculpture of a new devotional emphasis on the humanity of Christ. It stresses the warm intimacy between mother and son as they draw their heads together and look into each other’s eyes, with the child reaching his arms around Mary’s neck. The figure of Christ looks more like a small man than a baby; perhaps this was meant to recall the Old Testament song of Songs, in which the bride and groom came to be seen as references to Mary and Christ. Carved completely in the round, this stone sculpture would have been placed upon an altar, inspiring prayer and meditation.

    Provenance

    By 1955, Luigi Albrighi, Florence; 1957, sold by Albrighi to the MFA for $23,000. (Accession Date: September 12, 1957)

    Credit Line

    Maria Antoinette Evans Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    74 x 40 x 22 cm (29 1/8 x 15 3/4 x 8 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    57.583

    Medium or Technique

    Limestone with polychromy

    On View

    I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
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  • Console Table

    German (Munich)
    about 1730
    Probably designed by Josef Effner (German, 1687–1745), Carving attributed to Johann Adam Pichler (German, about 1716–1761)

    Object Place: Munich, Germany

    Description

    Richly carved and gilded, shaped marble top. Masks on knees of cabriole legs with paw feet, medallion with profile head on skirt, scrolls and garlands. Stretcher has full round seated cupids supporting Imperial coat-of-arms on breast of eagle.


    This table belongs to a set of four reputedly made for Karl Albrecht (1697-1745), elector of Bavaria and later Holy Roman Emperor. The tables were intended for the Kaisersaal (imperial hall) at the Ettal monastery, in Bavaria. A portrait of the elector’s wife, Maria Amalia, is carved on the central roundel. Attributed to the Munich court architect Josef Effner, the table’s design reveals a familiarity with the innovations of French rococo furniture, especially in the exuberant scrollwork and palm fronds, and the exotic masks on the legs.

    Provenance

    About 1730, made for Karl Albrecht, Elector of Bavaria (r. 1726-1745), possibly for the Kaisersaal at Kloster Ettal [see note 1]; 1899, purchased from the Kloster Ettal by Baron Theodor von Cramer-Klett (b. 1874 - d. 1938), Hohenauschau, Chimsee [see note 2]; by descent to his son or daughter; sold by the Cramer-Klett family to Fischer-Böhler, Munich; 1957, sold by Fischer-Böhler to the MFA for $4,000. (Accession Date: October 9, 1957) NOTES: [1] This is one in a set of four console tables made for Karl Albrecht. Another table from the set is at the MFA (accession no. 1987.211); the two others are at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and the Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt. [2] Information provided by Fischer-Böhler at the time of its acquisition; see also Regina and Hermann Jedding, "Der Konsoltisch im Werk Joseph Effners," p. 247, n. 3. In 1899, Baron Theodor von Cramer-Klett purchased the Kloster Ettal, which had been closed since 1803. The money raised by his acquisition allowed the abbey to reopen. It is not clear when the set of four tables was dispersed. The example at the Museum für Kunsthandwerk was on the Frankfurt art market in 1900.

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 85.7 x 150.5 x 64.4 cm (33 3/4 x 59 1/4 x 25 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    57.658

    Medium or Technique

    Gilded pine and limewood; marble top

    On View

    Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Furniture, Tables, stands, screens

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  • Oval dish

    French
    about 1570–85
    Attributed to Bernard Palissy (French, about 1510–about 1590)

    Description

    Oval dish, with applied snake, fish, frogs, crayfish, and leaves, arranged in a simulated river bed, decorated with translucent lead glazes in naturalistic colors, including green, yellow, blue, and brown.


    In the 1550s Palissy introduced an innovative type of pottery decorated with snakes, lizards, fish, frogs, crayfish, and plants-all cast from life for astonishing realism. Palissy transformed useful forms, such as this large dish, into evocations of marshes and riverbeds teeming with aquatic life.

    Provenance

    By 1862, Prince Soltikoff; 1862, sold at Soltikoff sale, Paris, lot 522, and bought by Attinborough or Altenborough, London (?); probably with A. H. Dendy, Esq.; 1882, probably sold by Dendy to Mr. F. Thomas; 1883, sold by Thomas to "W.H.W.", possibly W. H. Woodward [see note 1]. By 1960, with Edward R. Lubin, dealer, New York, NY; 1960, sold by Edward R. Lubin to the MFA for $1,000. (Accession Date: January 14, 1960) NOTES: [1] Information for the provenance of this object is provided by a paper label affixed to the back of the dish. The label bears the following hand-written inscription: "Dish in Bernard Palissy No 522 in Prince Soltikoff's sale at Paris 1862. bought by Attinborough [or Altenbourough] then passed to A. H. Dendy, Esq. - sold to Mr. F. Thomas 1882, and bought by me from him on Mr. Chaffer's recommendation 1883. W.H.W." Edward Lubin, the dealer from whom the MFA purchased the dish in 1960, identified "W.H.W." as W. H. Woodward, whose pottery collection was published in "Majolica W. H. W., catalogue of a Collection of Pottery belonging to W. H. Woodward," London, 1928. Lubin also identified Mr. Chaffers as William Chaffers, author of "Marks and Monograms on Pottery & Porcelain."

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with the Arthur Mason Knapp Fund and funds donated anonymously

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 44.5 x 56.5 x 9 cm (17 1/2 x 22 1/4 x 3 9/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.8

    Medium or Technique

    Lead-glazed earthenware

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware

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  • Virgin and Child

    German
    1771
    Made at Schrezheim Manufactory, Modeled by Franz Martin Mutschele (German, 1733–1804)

    Object Place: Europe, Schrezheim, Germany

    Description

    Figure of the Virgin, wearing flowing robes and metal halo, holding the Christ Child on her left arm and with a metal rod with cross in outstretched right hand, standing on dragon and crescent moon on globe.


    Founded in 1752, the Schrezheim factory, near Ellwagen in southern Germany, is famous for ceramic sculpture on an ambitious scale. The depiction of the Virgin holding the Christ Child while standing on a celestial globe and treading on a serpent derives from the Bible’s book of Revelations and symbolizes the triumph of the Church over heresy. Statues of the Virgin were often placed outside houses to ensure divine protection from evil, and this example stood over the main door of the meeting house of the Teutonic Knights (crusaders bringing Christianity to eastern Europe) in the small town of Wolframs-Eschenbach, near Nürnberg.

    Provenance

    Commissioned by the Order of Teutonic Knights of Wolframs-Eschenbach. Private collection. By 1961, Igo Levi, Lausanne; 1961, sold by Igo Levi to the MFA for $20,000. (Accession Date: November 8, 1961)

    Credit Line

    William Francis Warden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    H. 112.3 cm (44 3/16 in.); Base: 12 inches; Widest point of base brackets: 16 1/2 inches

    Accession Number

    61.1185

    Medium or Technique

    Tin-glazed earthenware with brass halo and iron staff

    On View

    Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware

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  • Bust of Cleopatra

    Italian (Mantua)
    Renaissance
    about 1519–22
    Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi (Italian, about 1460–1528)

    Description

    Patinated black surface (with bronze shining through), and traces of gilding. Life-size bust with head turned and bent, eyes downcast, Classical face, wavy hair. Crown and serpent on base identify it as Cleopatra. Diadem, two buttons at top of gown.


    This bust is identified as Cleopatra, ancient queen of Egypt, by her crown and by the small serpent that decorates the base. Once Cleopatra lost all hope of regaining control of Egypt from the Romans, she is believed to have committed suicide by the poisonous bite of a snake. The bust reflects an ancient Roman prototype and was made by an artist whose nickname, Antico, resulted from his exceptional skill in such ancient techniques as bronze casting. The bust probably belonged to Isabella d’Este, Marchioness of Mantua.

    Provenance

    By 1626, probably in the collection of Ferdinando Gonzaga (b. 1587 - d. 1626), Mantua [see note 1]. Said to have been acquired either in Belgium or in England by Julius Goldschmidt (b. 1882 - d. 1964), London [see note 2]; 1964, sold by the estate of Julius Goldschmidt to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 9, 1964) NOTES: [1] This sculpture has been associated with a bronze bust of "a woman with two crowns" (perhaps referring to the double crown in the present bust) included in the inventory of the estate of Ferdinando Gonzaga in 1627 (see Detlef Heikamp, L'Antico, Milan 1966, pl. XV). This has led to the hypothesis that it was one of several "bronze heads" that Antico wrote about to Isabella d'Este (b. 1474 - d. 1539) in 1519. However, this has not been proven. See, for example, Ann Hersey Allison, “L’Antico e i fratelli Lombardo: relazioni tra Venezia e le corti di Mantova e Ferrara, circa 1490-1530,” in L’industria artistica del Bronzo del Rinascimento a Venezia e nell’Italia Settentrionale, ed. Matteo Ceriana and Victoria Avery (2007), pp. 123-126. [2] That the bust was discovered in Belgium is according to notes in the MFA curatorial file, and has been published by Ann Hersey Allison, "The Bronzes of Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi, called Antico," Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien 89/90 (1993-1994), p. 240. According to information provided by curator Hanns Swarzenski at the time of the sculpture's acquisition, it had been "recently discovered in England" by dealer Julius Goldschmidt.

    Credit Line

    William Francis Warden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    64.45 cm (25 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.2174

    Medium or Technique

    Metal; bronze, with traces of gilding

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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  • Virgin and Child on the Crescent Moon

    Austrian
    Medieval (Gothic)
    about 1440–50
    Unidentified artist

    Place of Origin: Austria

    Description

    The swaying curve of the body of the Virgin, animated by deeply carved rhythmic folds, gives to this sculpture a sense of lyricism and weightiness characteristic of later Gothic sculpture in Northern Europe. The sweetness of expression of both mother and child makes the sculpture extremely vivid and appealing to the viewer. Wearing a crown and standing upon the crescent moon with a face below, this warmly human image also has symbolic meanings, associating the Virgin with the biblical Woman of the Apocalypse.

    Provenance

    15th century until 1797, parish church of Krenstetten, Austria [see note 1]. 1965, Wolfgang Hofstätter, Vienna; 1965, sold by Wolfgang Hofstätter to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 10, 1965) NOTES: [1] According to Wolfgang Hofstätter (letter to Hanns Swarzenski, MFA, September 23, 1965), this was the central sculpture of an altarpiece at the parish church of Krenstetten. When the church burned in 1797, the Madonna was salvaged and removed to a nearby building, where it was rediscovered after World War II.

    Credit Line

    Centennial Purchase Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    176.5 x 55.9 x 30.5 cm (69 1/2 x 22 x 12 in.)

    Accession Number

    65.1354

    Medium or Technique

    Wood; poplar with polychromy

    On View

    Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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  • Saddle

    Central European (probably Tyrol)
    about 1430–60
    Unidentified artist

    Place of Manufacture: Western Austria or Northern Italy, Tyrol

    Description

    Staghorn, carved and partly colored, lined with birch bark; decorated with figures in low relief against background of inhabited scrollwork; St. George and the Dragon; men and women in fashionable secular costumes holding inscribed ribbons with initials (G and S) and German inscriptions (motto: Gedenkch und Halt “Look before you leap” or “Think and Hold”, depending on translation, repeated three times).


    This saddle, intended for use in parades, belongs to a group of twenty-one saddles believed to have been gifts from German emperor Sigismund I (1368-1437) to knights in the Order of the Dragon upon their induction. This saddle is decorated with bone plaques skillfully carved in low relief with depictions of courtly men and women and Saint George battling the dragon. On both sides of this saddle is inscribed, in German, “GEDENKCH UND HALT,” which means literally “think and stop” or, colloquially, “look before you leap.”

    Provenance

    Possibly by 1520, the princes of Batthyány, Hungary [see note 1]; by descent within the family to Ladislaus Batthyány-Strattmann (b. 1904 - d. 1966) and his wife, Antoinette Batthyány-Strattmann (b. 1902 - d. 1990), Körmend, Hungary; April 17, 1969, Antoinette Batthyány-Strattmann and others sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 6, to Herbert Bier, London, for the MFA. (Accession Date: May 14, 1969) NOTES: [1] According to notes in the MFA curatorial file, there is a tradition that this belonged either to Balthasar Batthyány (d. 1520) or his son Francis and was passed on by descent within the family. In the 18th century, Empress Maria Teresia granted the family the title of Princes Batthyany, Counts of Strattmann. The saddle is said to have been with the Batthyány-Strattmann family at this time, when it was recorded among the arms collection as a family heirloom. In the 19th century it was on loan to the Museum of Szombathély, Hungary and was subsequently returned to Körmend Castle.

    Credit Line

    Centennial Purchase Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 36.2 x 54.6 x 37.1 cm (14 1/4 x 21 1/2 x 14 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    69.944

    Medium or Technique

    Bone over wood core, lined underneath with hide covered with birch bark, polychromy

    On View

    Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Tools and equipment, Animal-related

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  • Head of a Woman

    1909
    Pablo Picasso (Spanish (worked in France), 1881–1973)

    Place of Creation: Europe, France

    Description

    Bronze, cast by Vollard. Signature incised on neck “Picasso”. [card 2] Cubist head of a woman. Bronze, one of three or four cast by Vollard. Head and gaze slightly averted towards right. Surface broken up into sharp ridges modeling face


    This portrait of Fernande Olivier is generally considered to be the first Cubist sculpture, and is an early cast of the model. The challenge of applying the ideas of Cubism to a three-dimensional object meant that the Head of a Woman is less abstracted than works on paper or canvas. The tension created between the Cubist faceting of planes and the natural form of the head makes this one of Picasso’s most moving portraits. The head tilts downward, the eyes are deeply shadowed, and the lips tightly pursed, conveying a sense of melancholy and pensiveness.

    Signed

    Incised on left side of neck, "Picasso".

    Provenance

    1910, cast by Ambroise Vollard (b. 1867 - d. 1939), Paris. Before 1952, Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (stock no. 03895; photo no. 52167) [see note 1]; January, 1952, sold by Galerie Louise Leiris to Svensk-Franska Konstgalleriet, Stockholm [see note 2]. Until 1968 (?), Theodor Ahrenberg, Stockholm [see note 3]. June or July, 1969, sold by Gerschmann to O'Hana Gallery, London (stock no. 1507) [see note 4]; 1969, sold by O'Hana Gallery to Jeffrey H. Loria and Co., New York [see note 5]. By 1972, William Beadleston, New York [see note 6]; about 1974/1975, sold by Beadleston to Gilbert Lehrman, Harrisburg, PA and Palm Beach, FL; 1976, gift of Gilbert Lehrman to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 12, 1977) NOTES: [1] According to a label on the underside of the sculpture. The Galerie Louise Leiris was founded in 1920 by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler as the Galerie Simon (named after Kahnweiler's partner, André Simon). In 1940 it was turned over to Louise Leiris, Kahnweiler's sister-in-law, and was run under her name. [2] According to Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (November 28, 1968) in a written statement made on the reverse of a photograph of the sculpture, in the MFA curatorial file. [3] Valerie J. Fletcher, "Process and Technique in Picasso's Head of a Woman (Fernande)," in Picasso: The Cubist Portraits of Fernande Olivier (exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, 2003-2004), p. 186, n. 4. [4] According to correspondence from Sue Breakell, Archivist, Tate Gallery (January 12, 2005). The sculpture is authenticated by the O'Hana Gallery, London (July 3, 1969), on the reverse of a photograph in the MFA curatorial file and a label on the underside of the sculpture confirms the stock number. [5] According to Jeffrey H. Loria (December, 1976), in a written statement made on the reverse of a photograph of the sculpture, in the MFA curatorial file. [6] He lent it to the exhibition "Pablo Picasso: Important Paintings and Drawings" (M. Knoedler and Co., New York, November 24, 1972 - January 13, 1973), cat. no. 32.

    Credit Line

    Gift of D. Gilbert Lehrman

    Copyright

    © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Details

    Dimensions

    41.3 x 24.8 x 26.7 cm (16 1/4 x 9 3/4 x 10 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1976.821

    Medium or Technique

    Bronze

    On View

    Saundra B. and William H. Lane Galleries (Gallery 328)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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  • The Three Graces

    German (Augsburg)
    about 1624
    Georg Petel (German, about 1601–1634)

    Description

    Several of the sculptures of the German sculptor, Georg Petel, are interpretations of two-dimensional compositions by the Flemish baroque painter, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). This group is certainly inspired by Rubens’s Three Graces in the Vienna Academy Museum (painted in about 1620-21) which Petel saw during his visit to Antwerp in 1624. He made an ivory carving of the same group which was listed in the 1635 inventory of the Duke of Buckingham, the present location of which is unknown; it is possible that the bronze group was cast after this ivory. A later bronze cast is in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Braunschweig (Bro. 181). The figures, with their raised arms and flat palms, originally supported either a shell or a basket of flowers or fruits.


    This sculpture is based on a painting of the same subject by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), and the figures originally supported a basket or bowl of fruit or flowers. The sculptor captured the corporeality of Rubens’s figures and played on ideas of two- and three-dimensionality by working in relief, an intermediary between painting and sculpture in the round.

    Provenance

    1878, Charles Emile Jacque (b. 1813 - d. 1894), Paris; December 13-14, 1878, Jacque sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, lot 21 [see note 1]. Paul Bournet de Verron (d. 1882), Paris [see note 2]; by inheritance to his brother-in-law, Mr. Bucquet (d. 1889); by inheritence to Antoinette and Maurice Bucquet, Paris [see note 2]. 1963, private collection, Paris [see note 3]. 1963, acquired on the Paris art market by Joseph de Chellinck d'Elseghem, Brussels; June 30, 1969, Elseghem sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 29, to David Peel and Co., London; 1969, sold by Peel to John Goelet, New York; 1976, year-end gift of John Goelet to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 12, 1977) NOTES: [1] Unless otherwise noted, the provenance is based upon Fiona Healy's catalogue entry in A House of Art: Rubens as Collector, by Kristin Lohse Belkin and Fiona Healy (Schoten, 2004), p. 257, cat. no. 62. [2] On the Bournet de Verron collection and its provenance, see Gaston Migeon, "La Collection Bucquet-Bournet de Verron," Les Arts, vol. 10, no. 117 (September 1911): 7-22. M. and Mlle. Bucquet lent the sculpture to the "Exposition d'objets d'art du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance" (Jacques Seligmann, Paris, 1913), cat. no. 99. [3] Connaissance des Arts, no. 134 (April, 1963): 47.

    Credit Line

    Gift of John Goelet in honor of Hanns Swarzenski

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 30.5 x 19.1 x 5.1 cm (12 x 7 1/2 x 2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1976.842

    Medium or Technique

    Gilded bronze

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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  • Ewer and Basin

    English (London)
    1567–68
    Marked by L reversed

    Object Place: Europe, London, England

    Description

    The ewer is vase-shaped, with a domed molded foot, a spool-shaped stem, and a tapering neck flaring to a broad, shaped lip with a gadrooned edge. The handle is ear-shaped with a scrolling terminus. The body of the ewer is decorated with portraits of the sovereigns in two registers. Around the shoulder are five circular medallions with portrait profiles of Edward 111, Edward 11, Edward 1, Henry 111, and John. Around the body of the vessel in elliptical panels are engraved standing portraits of Richard 1, Henry 11, Stephen, Henry 1, William Rufus, and William 1. On the basin and the ewer, the engraved panels are left white, and the enframing garlands are gilt. The basin is raised, with a molded wire applied to the rim. The central boss is composed of a raised rim with a flat disk let in to the center; it is riveted to the basin. The body of the ewer is formed from two raised sections, with a molded wire covering the join. The foot is assembled from a raised domed section with a wire rim, a raised stem, and a fabricated collar. The handle is formed of two pieces. (Part of a set with the basin, 1979.262)


    This ewer and basin is engraved with the portraits of all the sovereigns of England up to and including Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603), for whom the set may have been made. The engraved scenes between the royal portraits depict Old Testament subjects based on Bernard Saloman’s illustrated Bible, published in Lyons in 1553.

    Inscription

    Engraved twice in central medallion of basin, engraver's monogram P over M

    Markings

    On underside of basin, maker's mark a pick or sythe (similar to Jackson, 1921, p. 101), lion passant, leopard's head crowned, date letter k with a difference

    Provenance

    Philip Herbert, fourth Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery (1584-1650); Anne Clifford, Dowager Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and Montgomery (1590-1676); Nicholas Tufton, third Earl of Thanett (1631-1679); Crichton Brothers, London; J.P. Morgan (1867-1943); sold Parke Bernet, New York, November 1, 1947, lot 466 [the sale catalogue indicated that the ewer and basin had descended in the Hyde family, but this cannot be substantiated], purchased by C. Ruxton Love, New York; purchased by the MFA from S.J. Shrubsole, New York. (Accession date: May 16, 1979)

    Credit Line

    John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund, Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour and funds by exchange from an Anonymous gift in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour (1833-1914), Bequest of Frank Brewer Bemis, the M. and M. Karolik Collection of 18th-century American Arts, Gift of G. Churchill Francis, Gift of the Trustees of Reservation—Estate of Mrs. John Gardner Coolidge, Gift of Phillips Ketchum in memory of John R. Macomber, Gift of Mrs. Richard Cary Curtis, Gift in memory of Dr. William Hewson Baltzell by his wife, Alice Cheney Baltzell, Gift of Mrs. and Mrs. Richard Storey in memory of Mr. Richard Cutts Storey, Gift of Mrs. John B. Sullivan, Jr., Gift of Mrs. Heath-Jones, Bequest of Charles Hitchcock Tyler, Gift of Miss Caroline M. Dalton, Bequest of Clara Bennett, Maria Antoinette Evans Fund, Gift of Miss E. E. P. Holland

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (Ewer): 33.8 x 10.9 cm, 1247.4 gm (13 5/16 x 4 5/16 in., 44 oz.) Overall (Basin): 5.4 x 50 cm, 3047.7 gm (2 1/8 x 19 11/16 in., 107.5 oz.)

    Accession Number

    1979.261-262

    Medium or Technique

    Silver, parcel gilt

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
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  • The Flood

    French
    1800
    Claude Michel, called Clodion (French, 1738–1814)

    Object Place: Europe, France

    Description

    This terracotta is Clodion’s small-scale sketch for a lifesize plaster–one of his most important late works–that he exhibited at the Salon of 1801, in Paris. The sculpture depicts a father carrying his son as he struggles against the waves to find a higher elevation. Clodion intentionally selected the heroic subject matter in an attempt to secure a commission from the new consular government of France, headed by Napoleon Bonaparte. Although he earned a first-class medal for his works, the commission never materialized, and the original plaster has disappeared.


    This terracotta is Clodion’s small-scale sketch for a lifesize plaster-one of his most important late works-that he exhibited at the Salon of 1801, in Paris. The sculpture depicts a father carrying his son as he struggles against the waves to find a higher elevation. Clodion intentionally selected the heroic subject matter in an attempt to secure a commission from the new consular government of France, headed by Napoléon Bonaparte. Although he earned a first-class medal for his work, the commission never materialized, and the original plaster has disappeared.

    Inscription

    Scéne du dèluge.

    Markings

    Clodion·1800

    Provenance

    1814, included in the inventory of Clodion's studio after his death [See Note 1]. June 12-13, 1911, anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 65. By 1981, Peter Cecil Wilson (b.1913-d.1984), London; June 14, 1981, Peter Wilson sale, Sotheby's, Monaco, lot 38, to Alex Wengraf, Ltd., London; sold by Alex Wengraf, to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 1, 1981). NOTE: [1] On the provenance of the sculpture, see Anne L. Poulet, “Clodion’s Sculpture of the Déluge,” Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, 3 (1991), 51-76, here 71-72, endnote 14.

    Credit Line

    John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 54.5 x 27.9 x 22.9 cm (21 7/16 x 11 x 9 in.)

    Accession Number

    1981.398

    Medium or Technique

    Terracotta

    On View

    Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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  • Layette Basket

    Dutch
    1666–67
    Marked by Adriaen van Hoecke (Dutch, 1659–1716)

    Object Place: Europe, The Hague, The Netherlands

    Description

    Rectangular shape enclosing wide border of flowers finely chased. Subject depicted in panel in middle of basket is from Virgil, “Without food and drink, love grows cold”; Ceres and Bacchus offering gifts to venus, with landscape in background. Monogram on handles.


    Layette baskets, a specialty of silversmiths in The Hague, held the infant’s baptismal clothes before the christening. This basket bears the monogram of Willem Adriaen van Nassau and the coat of arms of his wife, Elizabeth van der Nisse; they probably commissioned it at the birth of their son Cornelis in June 1667.

    Inscription

    Engraved arms on reverse of Elisabeth van der Nisse, Lady of Heinkeszand, Overzande and Driewegen (Zeeland). Monogram on handles of WAVN (William Adriaen van Nassau)

    Markings

    Town mark for The Hague; AVH (maker's mark); year letter P (1666-67)

    Provenance

    1666-67, made for Count Willem Adriaen van Nassau, Lord of Odijk and his wife, Elizabeth van der Nisse, The Hague, The Netherlands [see note 1]. February 29, 1980, sold at Philip's, London, lot 34. By 1982, with Curator's Choice, Ltd., Boston, MA; 1982, sold by Curator's Choice and bought by the MFA through the John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund. (Accession date: December 8, 1982) [1] The handles of the basket bear Count Willem Adriaen van Nassau's monogram, and the arms of his wife, Elizabeth van der Nisse, and was probably a gift for their son Cornelis, baptized on June 8, 1667. Traditionally, the layette basket was presented by the father's family on the occasion of an infant's baptism.

    Credit Line

    John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    L x W x H: 72 x 42.1 x 12.8 cm (28 3/8 x 16 9/16 x 5 1/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1982.617

    Medium or Technique

    Silver

    On View

    Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

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  • Chandelier

    German (Hanover)
    1736–37
    Designed by William Kent (English, 1685–1748), Marked by Balthasar Friedrich Behrens (German, 1701–1760)

    Object Place: Hanover, Germany

    Description

    Composed of eight cast branches supported by sphinxes. Surmounted by globe with horse of Hannover, flanked by putti, the whole surmounted by a sovereign’s crown.

    Markings

    Marked BEHRENS on the column

    Provenance

    1736 or 1737, George Augustus, King George II of England (b. 1683- d. 1760; r. 1727-1760), for the Leineschloss, Hannover (original commission) [see note 1]; by inheritance within the family to Ernest Augustus II (b. 1878 - d. 1923), Duke of Brunswick and Lüneberg and Crown Prince of Hanover [see note 2]; 1924, sold by the Dukes of Brunswick and Lüneberg to Elkan Silberman (dealer), Vienna [see note 3]. Private collection, USA [see note 4]. 1985, Kraemer & Cie., Paris; 1985, sold by Kraemer & Cie. to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 18, 1985) NOTES: [1] This is one in a set of five chandeliers commissioned by George II for the Rittersaal (presence chamber), Leineschloss. Two of the chandeliers were delivered in 1736 and three were delivered in 1737; it is not known when the MFA chandelier was delivered. See Ellenor M. Alcorn, " 'A Chandelier for the King', William Kent, George II, and Hanover," Burlington Magazine 139, no. 1126 (January 1997), pp. 40-43. [2] Upon the succession of Victoria as Queen of Great Britain in 1837, the thrones of Hanover and Great Britain split and the silver collection passed to the Duke of Cumberland, who became the King of Hanover. On June 27, 1866, Hanover was annexed by Prussia, and the family assumed the title Dukes of Brunswick and Lüneberg, and moved to Cumberland Castle in Gmuden, Austria. [3] After the death of Ernest Augustus in 1923, much of the family's silver collection was sold; the chandeliers were sold to the dealer Elkan Silberman on September 25, 1924. See George II's Magnificent Silver Chandelier (auction cat., Christie's, Monaco, December 4, 1993). [4] According to notes in the curatorial file. Correspondence from the dealer Kraemer (July 15, 1986) indicates that to the best of his knowledge the chandelier had not been in Germany for the last forty years.

    Credit Line

    William Francis Warden Fund, Anonymous gift in memory of Zoë Wilbour, Gift of Henry H. Fay, and Gift of W. K. Flint, by exchange

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 118.1 x 106.7 cm (46 1/2 x 42 in.) Weight: 130 lb. (58.97 kg)

    Accession Number

    1985.854

    Medium or Technique

    Silver

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
  • The Richmond Race Cup

    English (London)
    1764
    Designed by Robert Adam (Scottish, 1728–1792), Marked by Daniel Smith (English, in partnership with Robert Sharp about 1763–1788), Marked by Robert Sharp (English, active in London, 1763–1788)

    Object Place: Europe, London, England

    Description

    The vase-shaped cup rests on a spreading, spiral flutted foot with a border of gadrooning and rosettes and is surmounted by a knop with rosettes. The body of the cup is raised from a single sheet, with a chased acanthus calyx and water leaves on the lower section. At the center of each side of the body, inside an applied border of beading and bellflowers, are applied cast medallion depicting the saddling-up and the race. A chased garland of fruit and flowers hangs from the rim between chased lion’s masks. A low-relief frieze depicting the race, formed of applied cast figures, encircles the rim. The cast handles are in the form of winged female caryatids with twisted termini. The spool-shaped cover, formed from three raised sections, is chased with water leaves. At the narrowest point a cast border of Greek key is applied. A foliate finial on the top of a fluted and gadrooned dome surmounts the cover. The gilding has apparently been renewed, and a repair to the juncture of the foot has left a grainy surface.


    This trophy was awarded to John Hutton, Esquire, whose horse won the Richmond Gold Cup Race in September 1764. Designed by Robert Adam, this cup represents one of the earliest neoclassical models for silver and became the standard for race trophies.

    Inscription

    Along rim of cup, engraved "Richmond Races 1764 Sir Marmyduke Wyvill Bart and Thomas Dundas Esq. Stewards"

    Markings

    On bezel of cover, maker's mark DS over RS, (Grimwade 3523); lion passant (repeated on underside of base); leopard's head crowned (repeated on underside of base); date letter J (repeated on underside of base).

    Provenance

    September 1764, won by John Hutton, Esq., of Marske Hall, Swaledale, Yorkshire, by descent to J.T. d'Arcy Hutton, Esq., sold Christie's, London, October 4, 1950, lot 122; estate of Mrs. Hilda d'Arcy Sykes, sold Sotheby's, London, March 6, 1969, lot 186; property of the Hutton's Trustees; Christie's, London, July 8, 1987, lot 157, purchased from E & CT Koopman & Sons, London, October 28, 1987, Theodora Wilbour Fund in Memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour (1833-1914). (Accession Date: October 28, 1987)

    Credit Line

    Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour and Frank Brewer Bemis Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    48.6 cm (19 1/8 in.) Weight: 4,408.5 gm (141 oz 15 dwt)

    Accession Number

    1987.488a-b

    Medium or Technique

    Silver gilt

    On View

    Alan and Simone Hartman Galleries (Gallery 241)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
  • Henry Woodward as "The Fine Gentleman"

    English
    about 1753
    Made at Bow Manufactory (England)

    Object Place: Europe, England

    Description

    Figure of the actor Henry Woodward in the role of the Fine Gentleman in Garrick’s farce, “Lethe,” based on an engraving after a painting by Francis Hayman. White glaze, soft paste. The actor stands with legs astride, hands in pockets, in front of pedestal, on square base incised with check pattern. Wears large three-cornered hat, frock coat over figure waistcoat skirts


    The Bow factory portrayed actors Henry Woodward and Kitty Clive in the roles they made famous in David Garrick’s farce Lethe, revived in London in 1749. Porcelain figures depicting celebrities were novelties geared to the popular market.

    Markings

    incised

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Thomas O. Richardson

    Details

    Dimensions

    26.04 cm (10 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    96.927

    Medium or Technique

    Soft-paste porcelain

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Ceramics, Porcelain

    More Info
  • Vase

    Hungarian (Pécs)
    about 1900
    Modeled by Lajos Mack (Hungarian, 1876 1963) (1876-1963), Manufactured by Zsolnay Manufactory (Hungary (Pécs), active 1855–present)

    Description

    Earthenware with luster glaze. Baluster form with molded dragon wrapped around body. Blue luster body with green luster with red highlights. Red luster underside.


    During the 1890s a new technique of iridescent luster glazes was introduced at the Zsolnay factory. This trademark process was achieved by the addition of metallic oxides to the lead glaze. By the late 1890s a deep blue luster called Labrador was developed. Here, the rich surface effect was produced by several different colored luster glazes. With its asymmetrical form and naturalistic modeling, the vase is entirely characteristic of the fashionable Art Nouveau style.

    Markings

    raised seal, "Zsolnay-Pecs" around five church spires over stamped "M".

    Provenance

    By 1990, with Historical Design Collection, Inc., New York, NY; 1990, sold by Historical Design to the MFA. (Accession date: March 28, 1990)

    Credit Line

    European Decorative Arts Curator's Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 34.9 x 19.4cm (13 3/4 x 7 5/8in.)

    Accession Number

    1990.173

    Medium or Technique

    Earthenware with lustre glazes

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Earthenware

    More Info
  • Eternal Springtime

    French
    modeled about 1881; cast about 1916–17
    Auguste (René) Rodin (French, 1840–1917)

    Object Place: Europe, France

    Description

    Two young nude figures meet in kiss. Her legs graze the ground and her upper body is held in a taut arc and supported by the embrace of the male figure. He is posed precariously on the edge of a rocky mound, crossing his legs, extending his left foot beyond the sculpture base and his left arm in a full and graceful reach into space. On the rear, the male figure sports small pair of double wings, and female figure has a mass of floating hair, joining the flame motif on base.


    Rodin modeled Eternal Springtime while planning his monumental project The Gates of Hell, the bronze doors inspired by Dante’s Inferno that were commissioned in 1880 for a planned museum of decorative arts. The Gates of Hell were never finished; the original plaster version is now in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Although Rodin ultimately did not include Eternal Springtime in his composition for the doors, it is among his most celebrated works, daring in the precarious pose of the figures, their lean bodies extended into space, and in the complexity of convex and concave curves as the bodies intertwine.

    Inscription

    On proper left: à ma chere cousine Henriette Coltat, affectueux souvenir, A. Rodin. On back left: Alexis Rudier/Fondeur Paris

    Provenance

    About 1916-1917, cast by Rodin for his cousin, Henriette Coltat, Paris. 1922, Musée Rodin, Paris; 1922, sold by Musée Rodin to Mario Garcia Menocal (b. 1866 - d. 1941), 3rd President of Cuba. 1971, Antique Porcelain Company, New York (stock no. 9702); June 11, 1971, sold by the Antique Porcelain Company to William A. Coolidge (d. 1992), Topsfield and Cambridge, MA; 1993, bequest of William A. Coolidge to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 27, 1993)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of William A. Coolidge

    Details

    Dimensions

    62.86 cm (24 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1993.50

    Medium or Technique

    Metal; bronze

    On View

    Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Bottle vase

    German
    about 1730
    Made at Meissen Manufactory (Germany)

    Description

    Pear-shaped sake bottle painted in Kakiemon style with birds and flowering flowering foliage.

    Inscription

    Marks: incised Johanneum mark N=361-/W and incised into foot ring a former's (Dreher's) slash.

    Provenance

    Made for Augustus II (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, for the Japanese Palace, Dresden, Germany. March 1, 1993, sold from the Korthaus Collection at Christie's, London, lot 47 and bought by the MFA for the Rita and Frits Markus Collection [see note 1]. (Accession date: May 26, 1993)

    Credit Line

    Rita and Frits Markus Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 20.5 x 10.2 cm (8 1/16 x 4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1993.231

    Medium or Technique

    Hard-paste porcelain with colored enamel and gilded decoration

    On View

    Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Porcelain

    More Info
  • Ewer

    French (Paris)
    1705–06
    Possibly by Jean Ecosse (active before 1705, died after 1741)

    Object Place: Europe, Paris, France

    Description

    Helmet shaped ewer on a stepped, domed circular foot with gadrooning and chased acanthus leaf band on matte ground; the compressed spherical knop above is chased with banded reeds. The lower portion of the body is decorated with applied open and closed straps on a matte ground. Bands of chased lambrequins on a matte ground below applied molded band and molded rim. Applied female mask below spout. Bold scrolled handle terminates in female head, scrolling leaves join the handle to the body.
    Weight: 60.49 ounces (55.13 Troy oz.)


    Impressive ewers such as this, paired with a matching basin, were “sideboard plate” intended for display on a tiered sideboard rather than for use at the dining table. The ewer’s inverted-helmet shape, the acanthus leaves around its domed foot, and the boldly modeled masks on handle and lip reflect the period’s great admiration of classical art.
    In order to fund foreign wars, King Louis XIV of France often required noble households to surrender their silver objects to be melted down for the value of the metal. Therefore, surviving examples of high-quality French silver from this period are very rare.

    Markings

    Maker's Mark: a crowned fleur-de-lys, 2 grains [I or J?]E, [a heart?] (for Jean Ecosse see Nocq II, p.151): Handle (twice), mouldings above and below coat of arms, rim and underside of foot. Warden's Mark: 1705-06, a crowned M (Dennis 328): Underside of foot. Charge Mark: 1704-12, an A encircled by a crown (Dennis 328): Underside of foot. Discharge Mark: for work made in more than one piece, 1704-12, a crown with scepter and hand of justice (Dennis 3): Rim of foot. Other: Special countermark, 1705-08, a crowned E with 2 grains (Dennis 328): Rim of foot. Two illegible marks on handle. Engraved on bottom "201" and "Jo118/5506 matt".

    Provenance

    1926, MM. Cardeilhac, Paris [see note 1]. January, 1960, sold by S. J. Phillips, London, to Elizabeth Parke Firestone (b. 1897 - d. 1990) and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. (b. 1898 - d. 1973), Akron, OH and Newport, RI; 1993, gift of the estate of Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 26, 1993) NOTES: [1] Lent to the Exposition d'Orfèvrerie Française Civile du XVIe siècle au début du XIXe (Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, April 12- May 12, 1926), cat. no. 315.

    Credit Line

    Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 29.9 cm, 1715.5 gm (11 3/4 in., 3.78 lb.) Weight: 3.78 lb. (1.71 kg)

    Accession Number

    1993.357

    Medium or Technique

    Silver

    On View

    Britain, 1750-1800 / Portraits (Gallery 141)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
  • Casket

    English (London)
    1820–21
    Marked by John Harris (American, 1768–1772)

    Description

    The rectangular box rests on four detachable lobed feet. The box has broad cast moldings above and below with a string of beads around the top and bottom edges. The sides of the box are formed of square panels of intricate geometric ornament in low relif- four across the front of the box and three along the sides. The box has two covers assembled on one hinge; the interior cover may be concealed within the outer cover by a separate lock. The square panels on the hidden cover are of a different geometric design, incorporating an interlaced chain with an inscription and at the center initials in cipher. The panels, separated by plain moldings, are cast individually from a model that was pierced and assembled. They are meticulously finished.


    This elaborate casket, a tour-de-force of goldsmithing techniques, was probably designed and commissioned by English collector and connoisseur William Beckford as a gift for his Portuguese companion, Gregorio Franchi. The two collaborated on the design of many original works of art, using a variety of historical sources. The exterior panels show the influence of Islamic geometric ornament, while the panels on the inner lid are based on interlaced knot motifs.

    Inscription

    Incorporated into each of the twelve panels of interior cover: "Le tems peut nous detruire mais non pas nous detacher" surrounding initials in cipher, possibly FDM

    Markings

    On lower edge of molding, maker's mark IH (Grimwade 1819); lion passant; leopard's head crowned; date letter e; sovereign's head.

    Provenance

    Made for Chevalier Gregorio Franchi (b. 1770 - d. 1828); May 16, 1827, sold by Gregorio Franchi at Christie's, London, lot 99. By 1989, private collection; April 6, 1989, sold from this private collection at Sotheby's, New York, lot 177. Spink & Son, London. Asprey & Co., London. Titus Kendall, London; May 25, 1994 sold by Titus Kendall to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 25, 1994)

    Credit Line

    Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour and Frank Brewer Bemis Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    H. 15 cm x W. 32.2 cm D. 25.3 cm (5 7/8 x 12 11/16 x 9 15/16 in.) Weight: 5,769.3 gm (185 oz 10 dwt)

    Accession Number

    1994.89

    Medium or Technique

    Gilded silver

    On View

    Alan and Simone Hartman Galleries (Gallery 241)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
  • Cabinet

    English
    about 1870
    Designed by Bruce Talbert (Scottish, 1838–1881)

    Description

    Above the ebonized plinth, the body of the cabinet has two doors in front, each decorated with chevron-veneering within an ebonizing trefoil frame, and a foliate marquetry medallion above within ebonized framing.


    Talbert was a prominent designer and cabinetmaker working in the Gothic style from the 1860s. The form of this cabinet is based on the sixteenth-century Tudor court cupboard and displays such characteristic Gothic architectural elements as crockets and a pointed arch. The two-dimensional ornament comprises different colored veneers depicting stylized floral and Gothic patterns. The design is taken from Talbert’s extremely influential 1868 publication, Gothic Forms Applied to Furniture, Metal Work and Decoration for Domestic Purposes.

    Provenance

    In a private collection in Nova Scotia. 1997, sold by Margaret B. Caldwell to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 19, 1997)

    Credit Line

    John Wheelock Elliot and John Morse Elliot Fund and Arthur Tracy Cabot Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    218.1 x 61.9 x 112.4 cm (85 7/8 x 24 3/8 x 44 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1997.188

    Medium or Technique

    Cherry, oak; veneers of thuya, ebony, walnut, and rosewood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Case furniture and boxes

    More Info
  • Alcove Bed

    Lit d'alcove

    French (Paris)
    1787
    Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené (French, 1747–1803)

    Description

    A bed intended to be placed lengthwise within a curtained bed alcove and retaining its original wood and iron casters, used to remove the bed from the alcove for housekeeping.

    Part of a set of bedroom furniture (including Kneeling Chair 53.2092, Bergere 36.640, Firescreen 27.533, 2 Armchairs 50.2342, 53.2851, and 4 Side Chairs 27.524, 27.525, 47.244, and 53.2850)


    In eighteenth-century France beds ranged from practical cots to extravagant fantasies. This bed was designed to stand lengthwise against the bedroom wall and was set into an alcove curtained off from the room, for privacy. The metal wheels facilitated the easy removal of the bed from its alcove in order to change the linens. The silk textiles and trimmings ordered for the bed and the alcove represented the greatest expense in the interior decoration of the room. The eighteenth-century upholsterer used a luxurious three-colored silk to cover the bed, line the walls of the alcove, and make the bed curtains; the silk and trims have been exactly reproduced.

    Provenance

    1787, delivered to Marc-Antoine Thierry de Ville d'Avray, intendant-general of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Paris [see note 1]; 1792, seized by the French government [see note 2]. 1794-1796, probably acquired in Paris by James Swan, Boston, MA [see note 3]; after 1796, with his wife Hepzibah Clark Swan (d. 1825), Dorchester, MA; 1825, after her death, by inheritance to their daughter, Mrs. John C. Howard; by inheritance to her granddaughter, Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol; 1921, gift of Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol. (Accession date: June 2, 1921) NOTES: [1] see label found on the bed and Howard Rice, "Notes on the Swan Furniture," MFA Bulletin, Vol 38, p. 36-48. [2] After the downfall of the monarchy on August 10, 1792, Thierry was imprisoned and his belongings were seized. He died in the massacres at the Prison de l'Abbaye in September, 1792. [3] James Swan was a merchant established in Paris, and was appointed an official agent for the purchase of supplies in the United States in 1794 by the French Government. His partner was Johann-Caspar Schweizer, a Swiss. According to Howard Rice, the French Government placed at his disposal luxury goods to be exchanged in America for food supplies and war materials. The Swan and Schweizer agency shipped these articles to the United States between 1794-1795, where much of it was sold. However, this piece was among those that Swan kept for his personal use. See H. Rice "James Swan, Agent of the French Republic 1794-1796" The New England Quarterly, Vol. X, No. 3, Sept. 1937, p. 464-486.

    Credit Line

    Swan Collection—Gift of Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 140.3 x 160.7 x 213.2 cm (55 1/4 x 63 1/4 x 83 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    21.1265

    Medium or Technique

    Carved and gilded beech

    On View

    Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Seating and beds

    More Info
  • Virgin and Child

    German
    Medieval (Gothic)
    about 1490–95
    Tilman Riemenschneider (German, 1460–1531)

    Object Place: Europe, Wurzburg, Germany

    Description

    This Virgin wears a crown and stands upon a crescent moon, which associates her with the Woman of the Apocalypse from the Bible’s Book of Revelation. Riemenschneider presents the figures with great simplicity and humanity-the Virgin seems slightly melancholy and the Christ Child about to smile. Particularly touching is the way the Virgin holds one of her son’s feet while he clasps the other.

    Provenance

    Felix M. Warburg (b. 1871 - d. 1937), New York; by inheritance to his widow, Frieda Schiff Warburg (b. 1876 - d. 1958), New York; 1941, gift of Frieda Schiff Warburg to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 11, 1941)

    Credit Line

    Gift in memory of Felix M. Warburg by his wife Frieda Schiff Warburg

    Details

    Dimensions

    120.7 x 38.1 x 20.2 cm (47 1/2 x 15 x 7 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    41.653

    Medium or Technique

    Limewood

    On View

    William A. Coolidge Gallery (Gallery 243A)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Corpus

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1600–10
    Attributed to Giambologna (Jean Boulogne) (Flemish (worked in Italy), 1529–1608)

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Silver corpus, finely chiseled and tooled.


    This Corpus, or body of Christ crucified, was made for private devotion and prayer. Cast in silver, it is also a precious object and finished in exquisite detail, as seen in the smooth musculature, precise rendering of the hair, and textured loincloth.

    Provenance

    Private collection. By 1982, Black-Nadeau, Ltd., London; 1982, sold by Black-Nadeau, Ltd., to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 14, 1982)

    Credit Line

    John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund and Gift of Randolph J. Fuller

    Details

    Dimensions

    29.84 x 24.76 cm (11 3/4 x 9 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1982.210

    Medium or Technique

    Metal; silver

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Sauceboat with Liner and Stand

    French (Paris)
    1756–59
    Marked by François-Thomas Germain (French, 1726–1791)

    Object Place: Europe, Paris, France

    Description

    One of a pair of oval sauceboats with a removable liner on a plateau. The liner has a scalloped edge and scroll handles. The bowl is fluted, supported on a rockwork base with handles formed of branches of celery. The plateau has sunburst fluting, scrolled rim and handles, and a later engraved crowned monogram of Pedro the 1st of Brazil.


    After an earthquake devastated Lisbon in 1755, King José I ordered replacements for the extensive holdings of royal silver which had been lost. He ordered four new table services; French royal silversmith François-Thomas Germain employed 120 workers to execute the commission for four new table services.

    Inscription

    Inscriptions: Liner: "4" inside rim, "No 7" and "283A" on bottom. Bowl: "4" inside rim, "FAIT PAR F.T. GERMAIN SCULP ORF DU ROY AUX GALLERIES DU LOUVRE A PARIS. 1758." on underside. Support: "No 7" and "No 60-7m" inside rim. Plateau: monogram "P 1o" surmounted by a closed crown, "FAIT PAR F.T.GERMAIN SCULP ORFre DU ROY AUX GALLERIES DU LOUVRE A PARIS" "No 60 13m-1o-1.2 [2 in superscript] "283A" on underside. Engraved crowned monogram of Pedro the 1st of Brazil

    Markings

    Maker's mark for Francois-Thomas Germain: a crowned fleur-de-lys, two grains, FTG, a fleece (Dennis 149): underside of liner, underside of bowl, inside rim of rockwork support, underside of plateau, underside of plateau rim. Warden's mark for 1756-57, a crowned Q (Dennis 155): inside rim of sauceboat support. 1757-58, a crowned R (Dennis 155): underside of liner. 1758-59, a crowned S (Dennis 157): twice on underside of plateau. Charge mark for large work, 1756-62 [fermier Eloi Brichard]: a crowned A (Dennis 156): underside of liner, underside of bowl, underside of Plateau. Charge mark for small work, 1756-62: a harrow (Dennis 160): inside rim of rockwork support, underside of plateau rim. Discharge marks for work intended for export, 1733 (?) - 1775: a little cow (Dennis 156): inside lip of liner, inside of bowl. Import Marks: from 1893, an ant within a rectangular shield: outside rim of liner, rim of plateau, outside edge of sauceboat. (Rosenberg IV #5907).

    Provenance

    1756-1759, made for José I de Bragança (b. 1714 - d. 1777), King of Portugal (original commission); by descent to his great-grandson, Pedro IV de Bragança (b. 1798 - d. 1834), King of Portugal and Emperor of Brazil; by descent to his daughter, Franziska Caroline de Bragança (b. 1824 - d. 1898), Infanta of Portugal and Brazil; by descent to her great-grandson, Henri d'Orléans (b. 1908 - d. 1999), Comte de Paris; possibly sold by the Comte de Paris to Ricardo Espirito Santo Silva (b. 1900 - d. 1955), Lisbon [see note 1]; 1957, sold by his widow, Mary Espirito Santo Silva, through E. Garin, Paris, to Elizabeth Parke Firestone (b. 1897 - d. 1990) and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. (b. 1898 - d. 1973), Akron, OH and Newport, RI; 1993; gift of the estate of Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 26, 1993) NOTES: [1] The provenance given here is based on information in Isabel da Silveira Godinho, A Baixela de Sua Majestade Fidelissima (Lisbon, 2002), p. 204.

    Credit Line

    Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (overall): 14.8 x 38.8 x 23.2 cm, 3193.6 gm (5 13/16 x 15 1/4 x 9 1/8 in.) Other (sauceboat): 12.2 x 23.6 x 11.7 cm (4 13/16 x 9 5/16 x 4 5/8 in.) Other (stand): 6.2 x 38.8 x 23.2 cm (2 7/16 x 15 1/4 x 9 1/8 in.) Other (liner): 6.6 x 18.4 x 11.6 cm, 281.2 gm (2 5/8 x 7 1/4 x 4 9/16 in., 0.6 lb.)

    Accession Number

    1993.515.1a-b

    Medium or Technique

    Silver

    On View

    Britain, 1750-1800 / Portraits (Gallery 141)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
  • Cistern

    English (London)
    1708–09
    Marked by David Willaume I (British, 1658–about 1741)

    Object Place: London, England

    Description

    The cistern rests on a domed spreading foot assembled of three raised sections chased with two horizontal bands of gadrooning, and above, a chased band of pendant, stylized leaves below a molded arcade. The bombé body of the vessel is raised from heavy sheet, with a chased border of stylized leaves decorating the upper edge. The applied heavy rim is formed of a broad band of gadrooning. The handles are suspended from two brackets in the form of wyverns, cast in several pieces and heavily chased, applied at either end of the body. The urn-shaped fountain rests on a domed spreading foot that is chased with a broad gadrooned band. The spool-shaped stem, formed of several chased sections, has applied vertical brackets and cast gadrooned borders. it supports the baluster body of the vessel, which is formed of seven sections of raised sheet with a gadrooned underside, and four applied cast vertical brackets with rosetts. Four cast lions heads are applied to the shoulder of the vessel, each holding a cast is surmounted by a cast and chased figure in the form of a falcon.


    The handles of the cistern and the finial of the fountain are modeled in the form of the heraldic supporters and crest of the earls of Meath, for whom this massive piece must have been made. George Augustus, Prince of Wales purchased the set sometime before 1727, when he was crowned George II. It was kept in Hanover, the ancestral home of the English Hanoverian kings. David Willaume, who marked this monumental set, was one of the most successful foreign-born silversmiths working in London.

    Inscription

    ARMORIALS: Engraved on both cistern and fountain, the badge and motto of George, Prince of Wales, later George II, king of England (r. 1727-60); handles of the cistern and cover of the fountain modeled as the supporters and crest of the earls of Meath.

    Markings

    (Cistern) On rim of foot, date letter n; lion's head erased; Britannia; maker's mark WI (repeated on body to left of each handle). (fountain) On body to left of spout, maker's mark WI (Grimwade 3129) (repeated inside cover); Britannia; lion's head erased(repeated inside cover); date letter n. on front molding above lion, date letter n; lion's head erased; Britannia; maker's mark WI.

    Provenance

    1708/1709, probably Chambre Brabazon (b. about 1645 - d. 1715), 5th Earl of Meath, Dublin, Ireland, and London [see note 1]. By 1727, George Augustus, Prince of Wales, later King George II of England (b. 1683- d. 1760; r. 1727-1760), Hanover [see note 2]; until 1990s, by inheritance within the family [see note 3]; 1990s, sold by the dukes of Brunswick to a private collection; 1999, sold by this private collection, through Sotheby's, New York, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 23, 1999) NOTES: [1] The cistern and fountain were probably ordered by Chambre Brabazon in 1708/1709 to mark his succession to the peerage in 1707. [2] How and when the Prince of Wales acquired the cistern and fountain is not known, but before his accession in 1727 he had the engraved Meath armorials removed and replaced with his own motto and badge. It has been suggested that he acquired the set in 1717, the same year he commissioned a set of silver table wares and dining implements from London goldsmith Pierre Platel. See Ellenor M. Alcorn, "English Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," vol. 2, "Silver from 1697" (Boston: MFA Publications, 2000), pp. 72-75, cat. no. 20 and Tracey Albainy, "Hanoverian Royal Plate in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," The Silver Society Journal, 14 (2002), pp. 14-17. [3] Upon the succession of Victoria as Queen of Great Britain in 1837, the thrones of Hanover and Great Britain split, owing to the laws of Hanover, and the silver collection passed to the Duke of Cumberland, who became the King of Hanover. On June 27, 1866, Hanover was annexed by Prussia, and the family assumed the title Dukes of Brunswick and Lüneberg, and moved to Cumberland Castle in Gmuden, Austria.

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously, Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, Harriet J. Bradbury Fund, and other funds, by exchange

    Details

    Dimensions

    Cistern Dimensions: H. 66.04 x W. 114.3 x D. 68.58 cm (26 x 45 x 27 in.) Weight: (cistern) 1,775 oz 15 dwt Weight: (fountain) 1,049 oz 18 dwt

    Accession Number

    1999.98.1

    Medium or Technique

    Silver

    On View

    William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
  • Inkstand

    French (Paris)
    1876
    Retailed by Frédéric Boucheron (French (Paris), 1858–present), After Paul Legrand (1840–1910), Possibly made by Crossville and Glachant (French (Paris), founded in 1861)

    Description

    Silver, partially gilded, decorated in champlevé, basse-taille, and cloisonné enamels, with cut out base supported on four cast turtles, enameled with geometric patterns, naturalistic scenes, and facsimile prints surrounding a sea with carp. Fitted with a drawer etched and parcel-gilt in three colors. Base supports four shaped letter racks in geometric patterns flanked by two rolling blotters topped with “shi-shi” dogs holding brocade balls. Removable central section has a vase-shaped pen holder deocrated with female figures, plants, and field mice in kimonos, flanked by nesting boxes enameled in landcape and geometric motifs. Removable lids topped by a beetle and a wasp in gold and basse-taille enamel.


    The form and decoration of this inkstand whimsically imitate Japanese art, and it is a vivid illustration of the work of Parisian goldsmiths at the height of the craze for things Japanese. The inkpots resemble stacked porcelain bowls, whereas the penholder at center mimics a flaring bronze vase. The highly decorative colored enamels reproduce more than thirty Japanese ornamental patterns borrowed from lacquer, ceramics, prints, fans, and textiles.

    Inscription

    "10 juillet 1876" enamelled on one side of base, at lower left

    Signed

    "Fic BOUCHERON PARIS" engraved on base and drawer bottom

    Markings

    "CG" on drawer edge (probably for Crossville & Glachant).

    Provenance

    1878, probably sold by Boucheron to Marie-Louise Hungerford (Mrs. John) Mackay (b. 1843 - d. 1928), Paris, London, and New York. December 15, 1988, anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, to S.J. Phillips, London, and Firestone and Parsons, Boston; 1989, sold by S. J. Phillips and Firestone and Parsons to Alan and Simone Hartman, New York. October 24, 2000, anonymous sale, Sotheby's, New York, lot 179, to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 15, 2000)

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds bequeathed by Genevieve Gray Young in memory of Patience Young and Patience Gray Young, Frederick Brown Fund, William E. Nickerson Fund, Otis Norcross Fund, Arthur Tracy Cabot Fund, H. E. Bolles Fund, Russell B. and Andrée Beauchamp Stearns Fund, Ernest Kahn Fund, Helen B. Sweeney Fund, and European Decorative Arts Insurance, Deaccession and Deaccession Income Funds

    Details

    Dimensions

    23.4 x 33.6 cm (9 3/16 x 13 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    2000.977.1-7

    Medium or Technique

    Silver, partial gilt, champlevé, basse-taille, cloisonné enamels

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

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  • Candelabra

    English (London)
    1744–45
    Marked by John Hugh Le Sage (free 1718)

    Description

    The exuberant rococo design of these candelabra is based on a model produced by French royal silversmith Thomas Germain in the early 1730s. Perched on the stems are satyrs - companions of Bacchus, Roman god of wine - who allude to the candelabra’s function on the dining table.

    Markings

    Struck under base with hallmarks (leopard's head, lion passant, date letter for 1744-5) and with maker's mark of John Hugh Le Sage (struck three times on no.4).

    Provenance

    Made for either Thomas Osborne, 4th Duke of Leeds (1713-89) or Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds (1750-99); by descent to the 10th Duke of Leeds Will Trust; October 24, 1990, sold by 10th Duke of Leeds Will Trust, at Christie's, London, lot 247. E. & C. T. Koopman & Son, Ltd, London; By 1996, most probably sold by E. & C. T. Koopman & Son to Alan and Simone Hartman, New York, NY; 2001, gift of Alan and Simone Hartman. (Accession date: February 21, 2001)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Alan and Simone Hartman and Harriet J. Bradbury Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (each): 42.5 x 28 x 28 cm (16 3/4 x 11 x 11 in.) Weight (each): 227 oz 4 dwt (8621 g)

    Accession Number

    2001.37.1-2

    Medium or Technique

    Silver (sterling standard)

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

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  • Pair of Ice-Cream Coolers from Service des plantes de la Malmaison

    seau à glace forme vase

    French
    1803–04
    Made at Sèvres Manufactory (France), Decorated by Philippe Parpette (active in 1755–1757, and 1773–1806), and Jacques-Nicolas Sisson (active 1795-1845), and Gilbert Drouet (active 1785-1825), Gilder Charles-Marie-Pierre Boitel (active 1797-1822), and Antoine Gabriel Boulemier active 1803-1842), Decoration designed by Pierre- Joseph Redouté (French, born in Flanders, 1759–1840)

    Description

    Urn-shaped ice-cream coolers with lids and porcelain liners.


    This pair of ice-cream coolers belongs to a 108-piece dessert service made for Josephine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and later Empress of France, between 1802 and 1805. The botanical decorations are based on watercolors by Pierre -Joseph Redouté, the famed flower painter. Named for one of his most celebrated works, Les Liliacées [The Lilies], the service depicts the lilies and other flowering plants cultivated by Josephine at Malmaison, her house near Paris.

    Ice-cream coolers were used for the service of frozen desserts such as sorbets, coffee ices, frozen custard, and ice cream. To keep the dessert cold, ice was packed around an inner bowl holding the dessert and in the deep well of the lid.

    Inscription

    2001.250: MAGNOLIER à deux couleurs (side 1) GLOBBÉE pendanté (side 2) 2001.251: NENUPHAR Bleu (side 1) GORDONIE pubescente (side 2)

    Markings

    2001.250: Incised on foot: modeler's mark "T [? in script]" and date mark for 1802/03; incised on liner: date mark for 1803/04. Lid not marked. 2001.251: Incised on foot: modeler's mark ["T" or "L" in script]; incised on liner: date mark for 1803/04. On foot: factory mark and date mark for 1803/04, in red enamel.

    Provenance

    March 28, 1805, delivered to Joséphine Bonaparte (b. 1763 - d. 1814), Empress of the French, Château de Saint-Cloud [see note 1]; April 1806, given by Joséphine to Stéphanie Louise Adrienne de Beauharnais (b. 1789 - d. 1860) and Karl Ludwig Friedrich von Baden (b. 1786 - d. 1818), Baden-Baden, Germany [see note 2]; until about 2000, by descent within the family. Private collection; 2001, sold from this private collection through Lignereux, Zurich, to Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis, New York; 2001, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 23, 2001) NOTES: [1] A 116-piece dessert service, of which the MFA owns 14 pieces (2001.240 - 2001.253) was delivered to Joséphine ten days after it entered the Sèvres sales room. It was later transferred from the Château de Saint-Cloud to that at Malmaison, near Paris. [2] The service was a gift to Stéphanie upon the occasion of her marriage to Karl Ludwig Friedrich von Baden. Stéphanie de Beauharnais was the daughter of the first cousin of Empress Joséphine's first husband, Alexandre de Beauharnais.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis

    Details

    Dimensions

    Each: 31.9 x 23.5 cm (12 9/16 x 9 1/4 in.) Other (width at handles): 27 cm (10 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    2001.250-251

    Medium or Technique

    Hard-paste porcelain with colored enamel and gilded decoration

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Porcelain

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  • Table Cabinet

    German (Augsburg)
    about 1580–1600

    Description

    The cabinet is composed of a drop front and lid which when open reveal eight drawers and four small doors. The underlying carcase is constructed of oak with an inner carcase composed of a softwood. The divides between the drawers and compartments are also a softwood faced on the front edges with hardwood veneers. The carcase wood of the drop front and lid is a softwood. All surfaces of the chest including the interior drawers and doors are decorated with a combination of marquetry and intarsia composed of a variety of European woods. The distinctive material used on this cabinet is the green mottled colored veneer which resembles marble. This material is produced by gluing together wood shavings of different woods to form a composite which is then cut to form a veneer in a technique called “Spänemarmorierung” which is often found on Augsburg cabinets. The green wood on the inside of the cabinet is probably a green fungus stained wood which has been previously reported on Augsburg cabinets.


    Beginning in the mid-sixteenth century, cabinetmakers in the south German city of Augsburg specialized in table cabinets intended for the storage of small, precious objects such as exotic shells, medals, jewelry, and statuettes. These luxury cabinets were decorated entirely with colorful marquetry depicting fantastic townscapes, classical ruins, rabbits, dogs, cloaked figures, and a range of ornamental motifs drawn from contemporary German prints.

    Provenance

    Private collection, Southern France [see note 1]; By 2001, Galerie Neuse, Bremen, Germany; 2001 sold by Galerie Neuse to the MFA. (Accession date: December 12, 2001) NOTES: [1] In a letter to the MFA, September 21, 2001, Volker Wurster, dealer of the Galerie Neuse, writes that the family from whom the gallery purchased the cabinet claims it remained within the family and that no change of ownership took place between 1933-1945.

    Credit Line

    Henry H. and Zoe Oliver Sherman Fund and Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously

    Details

    Dimensions

    57 x 92.5 x 41 cm (22 7/16 x 36 7/16 x 16 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    2001.706

    Medium or Technique

    Wood; oak and pine veneered with maple, cherry, beech, and other woods, gilt brass, iron

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Furniture

    More Info
  • Mary of Burgundy

    French
    about 1837–42
    Jean-Auguste Barre (French, 1811–1896)

    Description

    This bronze statuette represents the 15th-century Valois princess and wife of the Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian I of Austria. It shows Mary out hawking, but sadly represents the moment just before the accident that would lead to her death. While she is still happily lost in the world of the hunt, the rearing horse and running page who tries to control the beast indicate the tragic nature of the story to the viewer.


    Mary of Burgundy was a fifteenth-century princess and the wife of Emperor Maximilian I Hapsburg of Austria. This bronze represents the poignant moment just before Mary’s fatal riding accident, as her page tries to control the agitated horse. Mary’s costume and the trappings of the horse as well as the dramatic and challenging motif of the rearing horse evoke the setting and craftsmanship of the Renaissance.

    Provenance

    About 1992, acquired in London by Charles Janoray (dealer), New York; 2002, sold by Charles Janoray to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 27, 2002)

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated by The Swan Society

    Details

    Dimensions

    49.8 x 33.0 x 14.9 cm (19 5/8 x 13 x 5 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.26

    Medium or Technique

    Metal; bronze

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Bust of Beatrice

    Italian
    1819–22
    Antonio Canova (Italian, 1757–1822)

    Description

    Marble bust by Antonio Canova


    Canova is generally considered the greatest neoclassical sculptor, and he was the most famous artist of his day. This bust began as a portrait of renowned beauty Juliette Récamier, whose celebrated image painted by Jacques-Louis David (1800) hangs in the Louvre Museum. Canova’s original plaster bust did not please Récamier, and he abandoned the idea of carving a marble version. Instead, he idealized his sitter’s features, transforming the bust into an “ideal head” of Beatrice, muse of the poet Dante. The ideal head was a type of marble bust created by Canova to present images of perfect beauty.

    Provenance

    1930s, Bensi family, Genoa; by 1954, sold by Bensi to a private collection, Italy; until 2002, by descent within the family, to a private collector [see note 1]; 2002, sold by the private collector, through Peter Laverack, New York, to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 25, 2002) NOTES: [1] The provenance was provided by Peter Laverack at the time of its acquisition.

    Credit Line

    William Francis Warden Fund, Edward J. and Mary S. Holmes Fund, John Lowell Gardner Fund, Russell B. and Andrée Beauchamp Stearns Fund, Helen B. Sweeney Fund, Frank B. Bemis Fund, Seth K. Sweetser Fund, H.E. Bolles Fund, Arthur Mason Knapp Fund, and Benjamin Pierce Cheney Donation

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (excluding socle): 45.7 x 27.9 x 25.4 cm (18 x 11 x 10 in.) Overall (with socle): 58.4 x 27.9 x 25.4 cm (23 x 11 x 10 in.) Other (socle): 12.7 x 17.8 cm (5 x 7 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.318

    Medium or Technique

    Stone; marble

    On View

    Thomas Jefferson Coolidge III Gallery (Gallery 248)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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  • Diana and Stag Automaton

    Trinkspiel

    German (Augsburg)
    about 1610–20
    Marked by Joachim Fries (1579–1620)

    Description

    Elaborate silver automata were among the most marvelous works of art in German princely collections. The south German city of Augsburg specialized in such courtly drinking amusements during the seventeenth century. The base of this automaton contained a wind-up mechanism that moved it across the table. Once it came to a standstill, the diner closest to it removed the stag’s head and drank the wine from the body.

    Markings

    On top of base: marks of Joachim Fries and Augsburg

    Provenance

    About 1610-1620, Prince Heinrich the Younger of Reuss, called Posthumus (b. 1572 - d. 1635), Gera, Germany; until 1945, by descent within the family and kept at Osterstein Castle, Gera [see note 1]. 1985, private collection, Gera; 1986, taken by the city of Gera and exhibited at the Museum für Geschichte [see note 2]; subsequently restituted to the princely house of Reuss; sold by the princes of Reuss to Rudigier Gallery, Munich and London; 2004, sold by Rudigier Gallery to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 22, 2004) NOTES: [1] In 1945 Osterstein Castle was bombed and burned out completely, and the automaton was thought to have been destroyed. However, it resurfaced in 1985 in the hands of a private owner, who is said to have acquired it by inheritance. The automaton may have been among the objects looted from the castle by Soviet troops. See Siegfried Mues, "Wertvolle Kunstschätze an die Museen der Stadt Gera übergeben," Neue Museumskunde 4 (1987): pp. 287-289. [2] When the automaton was discovered in a private collection, the city took possession of it, the princely house of Reuss having been dispossessed in 1945 by the Soviet Army. In 1987, the museum of Gera displayed it along with other objects thought to have been lost during World War II.

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously and the William Francis Warden Fund, Frank B. Bemis Fund, Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund, John Lowell Gardner Fund, and by exchange from the Bequest of William A. Coolidge

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height: 33 cm (13 in.); Width: 24.3 cm (9 9/16 in.); Diam. 25.4 cm (10 in.) Other (Base dimensions): 24.3 x 10.2 cm (9 9/16 x 4 in.)

    Accession Number

    2004.568

    Medium or Technique

    Cast and chased silver, partially gilded and painted with translucent lacquers

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver-gilt

    More Info
  • Covered cup (Globuspokal)

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

    Description

    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.

    Markings

    Unmarked

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Accession Number

    2006.1178

    Medium or Technique

    Silver, partially gilded

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
  • Covered cup

    French (Paris)
    about 1390–1420

    Description

    This silver-gilt footed cup belongs to a magnificent and rare set of thirteen drinking cups (see acc. nos. 2006.642-653). Used for splendid feasts, drinking cups were some of the most precious items in an aristocratic household. This covered cup is decorated in a poinconné (punched) technique in which the goldsmiths used a variety of punches to create the delicate pattern of flowers and exotic birds.

    Provenance

    About 1390/1420, probably Amaury d'Orgemont (b. about 1360 - d. 1400) and his wife, Marie de Paillart (b. about 1355 - d. after 1424), France [see note 1]. 19th century until about 2005, private collection, Switzerland. 2005, Alexander Rudigier, Ltd., London; 2005, sold by Rudigier to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 2006) NOTES: [1] This covered cup was acquired with twelve silver hanaps, uncovered drinking vessels (MFA accession nos. 2006.642 - 2006.653), of which six bear the arms of Amaury d'Orgemont and Marie de Paillart, members of the court of Valois. It has been suggested that the objects share a provenance, beginning with Amaury d'Orgemont and his wife.

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously and Frank B. Bemis Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 15 x 15.2 cm, 490 gm (5 7/8 x 6 in., 17.28 oz.)

    Accession Number

    2006.641

    Medium or Technique

    Silver-gilt, with punched (poinconné) decoration and basse-taille enamels

    On View

    Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info
  • Five hanaps from a group of twelve

    French (Paris and Angers)
    about 1395–1424

    Description

    Three Paris hanaps with enameled arms, one Paris hanap, and one Angers hanap.


    These five drinking cups belong to a magnificent set of thirteen, which is an exceedingly rare survival of the secular silver produced in France during the reign of Charles VI (reigned 1380-1422), a period of lavish display and exquisite technical refinement in the decorative arts. In addition to twelve shallow drinking bowls, or hanaps, the group contains a silver-gilt footed cup (see acc. no. 2006.641), finely decorated with a type of punched decoration. Silver cups, used at splendid feasts, ranked among the most precious items in an aristocratic household. Three of the hanaps pictured here are set with enamel medallions representing the coats of arms of Amauri d’Orgemont (died 1400) and his wife Marie Paillard (died after 1424), prominent members of the Valois court in Paris.

    Inscription

    # 1 in magic marker under foot

    Provenance

    About 1395/1424, Amaury d'Orgemont (b. about 1360 - d. 1400) and his wife, Marie de Paillart (b. about 1355 - d. after 1424), France [see note 1]. 19th century until about 2005, private collection, Switzerland. 2005, Alexander Rudigier, Ltd., London; 2005, sold by Rudigier to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 2006) NOTES: [1] The six silver cups that comprise this set (MFA accession nos. 2006.642 - 2006.647) bear the arms of Amaury d'Orgemont and Marie de Paillart, members of the court of Valois. The exact circumstances of the commission are not known. Amaury may have received the cups as a gift; he may have commissioned them for his own use, or his wife may have commissioned them after his death in 1400.

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously and Frank B. Bemis Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (2006.642): 6 x 18.6 cm (2 3/8 x 7 5/16 in.) Overall (2006.644): 6 x 18.2 cm (2 3/8 x 7 3/16 in.) Overall (2006.646): 6 x 18.4 cm (2 3/8 x 7 1/4 in.) Overall (2006.649): 4.1 x 16.7 cm (1 5/8 x 6 9/16 in.) Overall (2006.653): 4.1 x 17.5 cm (1 5/8 x 6 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    2006.642-653

    Medium or Technique

    Silver, partially gilded, basse-taille enamel

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Silver

    More Info

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