RENAISSANCE NECK-PENDANTS

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THE necklaces, collars, or neck-chains which have just been spoken of as noticeable features in Renaissance decoration served the purpose of suspending a species of ornament even more peculiarly characteristic of the period—the pendant.

This was hung either to the neck let, or to the neck-chain that fell upon the breast. Among all classes of Renaissance jewelry, and indeed of the jewelry of all time, this neck-pendant certainly deserves the first place, not only on account of the predominating part it played among the other ornaments of the period, but also on account of the great number of examples we possess of it, and the variety of forms which it exhibits.

Throughout the Middle Ages almost every pendant worn at the neck {pent-a-col) bore a religious signification, but towards the close of the fifteenth or the beginning of the sixteenth century the pendant seems to have lost much of its religious character, and became mainly an object of decoration. That even in the sixteenth century it did not entirely serve a decorative purpose is shown by a number of portraits dating from the first half of the century, where the termination of the neck-chain is hidden beneath a square-cut bodice.

What the object was which was thus concealed is uncertain. It was very possibly a reliquary, or perhaps a cross; for crosses formed a very large proportion of Renaissance pendants. Apart from crosses, the majority of Renaissance pendants represent a figured subject of some description, while compositions entirely of precious stones appear to be less common—at least in the second half of the sixteenth century, to which the greater number of these jewels belong. Holbein’s designs for pendants, on the other hand, were composed, it may be remembered, mainly of precious stones.

From this we may infer that jewels having as a central ornament a single precious stone, or a gem surrounded by stones, and a regular contour, generally antedate those with figured compositions within uneven or broken borders. This of course applies to jewels which exhibit distinctly a back and front, and not to those formed of a single figure in the round, which are often difficult to date, though extant examples belong mostly to the latter half of the century.

It is to be noticed that the majority of pendants are suspended by two, or sometimes three, richly jeweled and enameled chains, connected above by a cartouche similarly enriched. While sixteenth-century pendants display on their front the art of the gold smith-enameler in its full perfection, the reverse likewise exhibits artistic work in engraving as well as enameling.

It is likewise worthy of remark that Renaissance pendants are almost invariably enriched with pendent pearls. Of the immense number of subjects represented on these jewels we have already spoken in the introduction to the jewelry of the period. For pendants formed of single figures executed in the round, the whole of ancient or medieval imagery—with its figures of Pan or of wood-nymphs; centaurs, or mermen; mermaids or sirens; unicorns, dragons, and other creatures, real as well as fabulous, of the earth, air, or sea—was revived, or else transformed to suit the fancy of the Renaissance jeweler.

The formation of many of these was frequently suggested by a monster pearl, unsuitable for ordinary jewelry on account of its baroque or misshapen form, introduced in a wonderfully skillful manner into the body or breast of a figure, which was completed in enameled gold work. In such adaptations the German jewelers, who seem to have reveled in technical difficulties, displayed extraordinary ingenuity. Among groups of several figures employed as subjects for representation, generally within a frame of ornamental design, scenes from ancient mythology predominate, the Judgment of Paris being a very favorite theme. But Christian allegories are not excluded: besides the frequent representation of Charity with her two children or her symbol the pelican, we find Faith, Hope, and Fortitude; St. George and the Dragon or St. Michael are also frequently met with ; while among scriptural subjects of the Old and New Testaments or the Apocrypha, the Annunciation is perhaps the most popular.

The majority of the pendants of this class show a rich and uneven outline broken by tendrils often enriched with small dots of enamel, by projecting wings of birds by strap work and other ornament. Occasionally a “Charity” or an “Annunciation” is placed in an architectural niche, but the architectural device is not infrequently limited to a horizontal beam formed of a row of table-cut stones and two obelisks of the same construction forming the ends to the right and left. It is only in the smaller examples of pendants that we find the design lying flat on a plane. Generally the jewel is fashioned in relief by means of two, three, or even four superimposed planes formed of openwork plates arranged in such a manner that the lower parts are seen through openings in the upper. These are fastened together by rivets sometimes three-eighths of an inch long, and the upper field of the jewel, on which are groups of enameled figures.

GERMAN AND FRENCH RENAISSANCE PENDANTS with stones very large, so that the whole composition is increased to a considerable height. Collections contain frequent examples of this class of pendant. One of the most elaborate, of Augsburg work dating from the end of the sixteenth century, is in the Adolphe Rothschild Bequest in the Louvre. In the center is an enameled group representing the Annunciation, within an architectural framework set with diamonds, rubies, and pendent pearls. The jewel, which is suspended by triple chains from an enameled cartouche, measures in its total length 5 inches.

Similarly large openwork pendants, enriched with enamels, precious stones, and pendent pearls, are shown attached by a ribbon to the left breast in three portraits dated 1609, representing the Princesses Elizabeth, Hedwig, and Dorothea of Brunswick in the Hampton Court Gallery. Of pendants containing groups of small enameled figures there seems to have been an enormous production in Southern Germany towards the close of the sixteenth century, particularly in the workshops of Munich and Augsburg. These pieces, which are very charming, are greatly sought after by collectors, and are among the most highly prized of all objects of value. Their workmanship is extraordinarily elaborate though not a few of them, it must be confessed, are overloaded with detail, and somewhat unsatisfactory in composition.

Cameos began to play a prominent part in jewelry. A considerable number of cameos in the great gem collections, .set in exquisite jeweled and enameled mounts, are provided with loops for use as pendants. Numerous gems, splendidly mounted as pendants have been found in Museums. Of extant pendants having as a center-piece a figured subject, either cut in cameo or enameled work, the majority do show uneven contours after the manner of the German ornaments, though not a few of those of oval shape have frames with smooth outlines.

The doubling of the frame characteristic of the French cartouches, and the broken contours of the German pendants, which allow of a variety of intertwining s and traversing s, offer a favorite field for the display of the jeweler’s art in the application of poly chrome enamels. The model of a ship, was of frequent use as an article of table plate. Pendent jewels likewise take the form of a small ship completely equipped, suspended by chains, and hung with pearls. In this style of jewel, which is perhaps of Venetian origin, the crescent-shaped caravel or open and without a deck, but built up high at the prow and stern, with forecastle and cabin, and large ship’s lantern, is often adhered to, but the design is not infrequently somewhat conventional.Their probable Adriatic origin is evinced by the several specimens exhibited, together with jewels from the Greek Islands, in the Franks Bequest in the British Museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum contains a choice example from the Spitzer Collection. It carries three masts, five sails, a lantern, and a high poop and stern. The rigging” is of twisted gold wire.

THE RENAISSANCE PENDANTS hull covered with a pattern in translucent blue, red, and green, and opaque white enamels. A variety to this form is presented by a remarkable piece in the museum at Vienna. It represents a barque manned by two rowers ; while at the prow and stern are mandolin players who entertain two passengers seated beneath the framework awning such as was in use on the gondolas of the time. The whole is enriched with poly chrome enamels. The figures are in full relief, and the boat, hung by three chains, is further set with diamonds and rubies. We may estimate the extraordinary value attached to such objects at the present day by the fact that a jewel very similar to this last was sold at Messrs. Christie’s Rooms in the autumn of 1903 for no less a sum than 6,500. The hull of this jewel is identical with that at Vienna, but figures of Antony and Cleopatra, finely executed, though somewhat out of proportion to the rest, here take the place of the couple beneath the awning; while instead of being hung by chains (as is suitable to this form of pendant) the jewel is backed by a composition of scroll- and strap-work, characteristic of German and Flemish work of the second half of the sixteenth century.

A comparison with contemporary designs clearly associates these two objects with the well-known set of engravings for pendent jewels published by Hans Collaert at Antwerp in. Another version of this jewel is in the Bavarian National Museum, Munich. The figures are the same as on the Vienna jewel, but the vessel is in the form of a fish. Just as the great gem cabinets preserve pendants whose jewel work is confined to richly decorated frames, so there exist a considerable number of mounted medals, which must be looked for in collections of coins and medals, among which they are classed on account of the presumed preponderating importance of their center-pieces. These pendent gold medals with beautiful jeweled and enameled mounts, occasionally hung with pearls and suspended by chains from ornate cartouches, were much in favor in Germany in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and were given by noble personages, whose portraits were figured on them, as presents and as marks of special distinction.

Many examples, as is to be expected, are to be found in the coin cabinets of Munich and Berlin while others are preserved in the more important public and private collections of jewelry. These medallions, as was natural, were frequently made in duplicate, and the Waddesdon Bequest, and the Salting and Pierpont Morgan collections each contain a jewel, dated 1612, of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria (1558-1620), in an open-worked border of enameled scrolls interrupted by four shields of arms, and suspended by three chains, united above by an oval escutcheon with the arms of Austria on one side and the cross of the Teutonic order on the other.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has an enamel-mounted medal of Albert VI, Duke of Bavaria (1584-1666), a facsimile of which, hung with a single instead of pearl, is in the Munich cabinet. Many of the motives connected with pendants denote associations which appear inexplicable, until it is understood that no small number of them, like the pendent medals, were gifts from princes, the so-called ” favors ” granted in recognition of services rendered. Among the princely gifts we must class that large group of pendants which consist only of one letter or a monogram in an ornamental frame or in openwork, sometimes composed entirely of precious stones. Of these the Victoria and Albert Museum possesses a fine early example in form of a square tablet of gold set with pearls, bearing on one side two enameled shields of arms, and on the other the initials DA, in a frame formed of bracket-shaped terminal figures.

RENAISSANCE PENDANTS masks. It is of German work of about the year 1530. Distinct from these princely monograms are those employed for religious purposes, particularly the monograms of Christ and the Virgin. Probably the finest example of the numerous pendants in the form of a single figure, particularly of those whose formation is suggested by a large baroque pearl, is the merman jewel in the possession of Lord Clanricarde. The figure, whose body is made of a single pearl, with head and arms of white enamel and tail of brilliant yellow, green, and blue, wields a jaw-bone in the right hand, and an enameled satyr’s mask as a shield in the left.

This magnificent Italian jewel was brought from India by Lord Canning. Pendants of somewhat similar character, often representing a mermaid holding a comb in one hand and a mirror in the other, are to be found in the Vienna, Windsor, Waddesdon, and other collections. They are almost invariably of German workmanship. Among many other jewels of similar formation the most important is a pendant in the form of a dragon in the Galerie dApollon of the Louvre. The modeling and general form of this jewel is very fine, and its enamel-work, chiefly of white and light blue, in the design of circles and chevrons, especially on the wings, is most admirable. It is Spanish work of the highest quality, and was bequeathed by Baron Davillier,who procured it.

Of other animal forms are those of a lion, a dromedary, a dog, and a fish, birds include, besides a dove (the symbol of the Holy Ghost), eagles, cocks, parrots, and pelicans.

Among miscellaneous pendants worn in Renaissance times attached to the neck-chain mention must be made of whistles. These were formed of a pipe or tube, sometimes in the form of a pistol, through which the air is carried into a hole in a ball, thus producing the sound. Whistles of this kind were designed by Diirer and Brosamer, and they are shown suspended at the neck in the engraved portraits of William, Duke of Juliers, and of John of Leyden by Aldegrever, in the portrait of a man by Lucas Cranach the elder (1472-1553) in the Louvre, and in portraits of the Margrave Philibert of Baden (1549) by Hans Schopfer the elder at Munich and Nuremberg. Silver whistles of somewhat similar construction, ornamented with a mermaid or siren, or with a lion or sea-horse, were frequently worn also as charms in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

They are usually hung with little bells, possibly for the purpose of averting the evil eye as it is termed in Italy. In Aldegrever’s design for a whistle, of the year 1539′ the lower part is formed of a case containing small articles for toilet purposes. Such articles, in the shape of toothpicks and ear picks, often richly gem-med and enameled, were very commonly worn hanging from a fine gold chain or thread about the neck.

Elaborate toothpicks are occasionally seen in pictures, as in the Venetian portrait of a young man in the National Gallery of Ireland. Their owners are sometimes shown affectionately toying with them. Judging by the frequency with which they are met with in inventories, they must have been extremely popular.

Other magnificent toothpicks in the form often that of a mermaid or merman. The body is constructed of a baroque pearl; the tail terminates in a point. Designs for a couple of jewels of this kind were published by Erasmus Hornick of Nuremberg in 1562. In the Cluny Museum (Wasset Bequest) is a silver-gilt pendant, an ear-and toothpick combined, one end being an ear-, the other a toothpick. It is ornamented in the center with clasped hands and hung with a pearl, and is German work of the sixteenth century.

In addition to the museums already mentioned (namely, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Vienna Museum, the Rothschild and Davillier Bequests in the Louvre, and the coin or gem collections of London, Paris, Berlin, and Munich), numbers of pendants, in immense variety of form, are to be found in all the well-known collections.

Of the pendants of the time of Henry VIII we obtain a tolerably accurate idea from contemporary portraits, and from Holbein’s inimitable series of drawings.

A pendant of this form, a present to Elizabeth from Sir Francis Drake, and given by her to Lord Hunsdon. It is supposed to represent the famous Golden Hind, the ship in which Drake sailed round the world. The hull, which is of ebony, is set with a table diamond ; the masts and rigging of gold are enriched with blue, white, green, and black opaque enamels, and set with seed pearls. In the ship is a seated figure of Victory blowing a horn, and behind is a cherub crowning her with a wreath.

The small boat suspended below is enameled blue. A jewel also associated with Sir Francis Drake, and perhaps the most important of all Elizabethan pendants, is preserved, with other relics of the great navigator, at Nutwell Court, Devon. It is set in front with a fine Renaissance cameo in Oriental sardonyx, representing two heads—a negro in the upper and dark layer, and a classical head in the light layer of the stone. Behind is a miniature by Hilliard of Elizabeth, dated 1575. The border, of most admirable work, is richly enameled in red, yellow, blue, and green, interspersed with diamonds and rubies. Beneath is a cluster pendant of pearls, to which is attached a very fine drop pearl.

This magnificent jewel was presented to Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth in 1579, and in his portrait by Zucchero (now belonging, together with the jewel, to his descendant Sir F. Fuller-Eliott-Drake) he is represented wearing it suspended from the neck by a red and gold cord, over a silk scarf, also a present from the Queen. The cluster of pearls, as on the Drake Jewel, was a favorite form of ornament for Renaissance pendants.

In the National Portrait Gallery is a portrait of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk (father of Lady Jane Grey), wearing a George of the Order of the Garter, below which is hung a pearl cluster and a large pear-shaped pearl attached. A similar pendant, like a bunch of grapes, serves to enrich another fine jewel of this time —the Barbor Jewel in the Victoria and Albert Museum. In the center of this jewel is a beautifully cut cameo portrait in sardonyx of Queen Elizabeth in a frame of translucent blue and green on opaque white enamel, set alternately with rubies and table diamonds. According to a family tradition, Mr. William Barbor, who had been condemned to be burned at the stake in Smithfield for his religion, had this jewel made to commemorate his deliverance through the death of Queen Mary and the accession of Elizabeth.

The Museum at South Kensington exhibits another pendant of the same period, the property of Miss Wild. It is of gold, of open scroll work, enameled, and set with rubies and diamonds, and with pearl drops. It has in the centre a turquoise cameo of Queen Elizabeth. The sheen of the pearls with the rich red of the foiled rubies and the dark luster of the diamonds in their old irregular setting, combine with the lightness and delicacy of the gold work touched with colored enamel to render this little pendant one of the most attractive objects of its kind in existence. In addition to its artistic beauty, the jewel is of interest from the tradition that it was given as a christening present by Queen Elizabeth to its first owner, by whose descendants it has been preserved to the present day. Among other examples in that important group of jewels which were apparently intended either as special rewards to naval officers or simply as complimentary presents from the Queen to Court favorites, the finest are the Phoenix Jewel in the British Museum, a jewel belonging to Mr. Pierpont Morgan.

The Phoenix Jewel, bequeathed to the British Museum by Sir Hans Sloane in 1753, has as a central ornament a gold bust of Queen Elizabeth cut from a gold medal known as the Phoenix Badge of the year 1574, bearing on the reverse the device of a phoenix amid flames. It is enclosed in an enameled wreath set on both sides with red, white, and variegated roses symbolizing the union of the Houses of York and Lancaster. The roses, of translucent red and opaque white enamel, and the leaves, of translucent green on engraved ground, are attached to stalks covered with lighter green opaque enamel. The workmanship of this jewel is extremely fine.

Of the last-named—a splendid production of an English goldsmith of the Elizabethan period—it is impossible to speak with adequate praise. Like the Phoenix Jewel, it is modeled upon a contemporary medal, /lough in an entirely different style. Upon the front is a profile bust of Queen Elizabeth from the Personal or Garter badge of 1582, upon an enameled ground of aventurine blue, inscribed with the royal title. The opposite side forms a locket containing a miniature of Elizabeth by Hilliard dated 1580, and covered with a lid enameled with translucent colors— on the outside with the Ark and the motto and on the inside with the Tudor rose and a laudatory Latin motto—the same as appears round the reverse of the Phoenix Badge of 1574, which refers to Elizabeth with a regret “that virtue endued with so much beauty should not uninjured enjoy perpetual life.” The jewel is bordered by strap work a jour of opaque blue and white enamel set with table diamonds and rubies. This exquisite object, which is in the highest possible state of preservation, and retains its fine enamel entirely uninjured.

Another great piece of jewelry has in the center a mother-of-pearl medallion with the Ark carved in low relief, of the same design as on the Morgan Jewel and the 1588 medal, surrounded by an inscription— in gold on white enamel, and encircled by a band of table-cut rubies. The edge is enameled with translucent red and green, and opaque white enamel. The Ark floating tranquilly amid violent waves is emblematic of the fortunes of England, or possibly of Elizabeth.

The front opens on a hinge, and shows that the pendant was intended as a miniature case—though the miniature is missing. In the times of Elizabeth and her successor miniature cases were among the most important of pendent jewels. Quite a number have survived, chiefly on account of the miniatures they enclose. Contemporary portraits show the manner in which they were worn.

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RENAISSANCE NECKLACES, NECK-CHAINS, COLLARS

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NECKLACES or neck-chains worn by both sexes are a prominent feature in Renaissance jewelry. Just as in primitive times the neck was encircled by a torque, so at this later period it was the custom to carry heavy chains of pure gold, which were worn in different ways, either round the throat, or else upon the shoulders and low down over the breast. Sometimes one long chain was wound several times round the neck so that the uppermost row closely encircled the throat.

Not satisfied with one, women in particular occasionally wore as many as half a dozen chains of different design covering the body from neck to waist. From the fifteenth until the middle of the seventeenth century neck-chains were a frequent adjunct to male costume, and allusion is made to them in Barclay’s Ship of Fools. Men’s necklaces, apart from the chains and collars of distinction belonging to particular orders or guilds, seem to have been mostly of pure gold.

RENAISSANCE NECKLACES during reign of Henry VIII was in fashion. He wore them to a most unreasonable excess. References to the extraordinary dimensions of these chains show that they must have been extremely inconvenient to wear. Henry VIII’s Book of Payments records the payment in 1511 of $199 to the goldsmith Roy for a chain of gold weighing no less than 98 ounces. This is actually surpassed in Elizabeth’s time, when Her Majesty received as a New Year’s gift in 1588 “one chain of gold, worth one hundred threescore and one ounce.” Queen Mary had a heavy chain of gold made by her jeweler, Robert Raynes, out of the angels received as New Year’s gift, and the curious custom of converting bullion into chains is further exemplified in the case of Sir Thomas Gresham, the bulk of whose wealth on his death in 1579 was found to consist of gold chains.

Pictures without number exhibit these ponderous neck-ornaments, while contemporary wills teem with references to them. That they were very much worn in Shakespeare’s time would be apparent had we no other authority than his frequent allusion to them, as for instance in the Comedy of Errors, where there is a great ado about a chain. Indeed, no gentleman was considered properly equipped unless he had his chain of gold upon his shoulders.

With regard to their form, it seems that chains which appear as though made of plaited wire, and were known in medieval times, remained still in use. But the majority of chains are composed of rounded links of various designs. They are usually of great length, so as to encircle the neck and shoulders several times.

Extraordinarily common though such chains must have been, but few examples have survived, and the reason for this must be that, composed of pure metal, they went direct to the melting-pot as soon as they became unfashionable. Yet owing to peculiar circumstances some still exist. In the Germanic Museum at Nuremberg are preserved several examples dating from the first quarter of the seventeenth century. These formerly belonged to the Holtzendorff family, and were buried during the Thirty Years’ War, at Pinnow in North Germany, where they were unearthed a few years later.

Two gold chains dating from about the middle of the same century are preserved in the Ashmolean Museum. They were presented to Elias Ashmole : the one 29 inches long, formed of thirty-two openwork qua-trefoil links, by Christian V, King of Denmark, and the other, of circular links, by the Elector of Brandenburg in 1680, on the publication of the History of the Order of the Garter.

The custom of presenting chains of gold was as common then, it is to be observed, as in the most ancient times. John Williams, jeweler of James I, was paid sums amounting to upwards of 13,000 for chains of gold given by the King to divers ambassadors. These heavy linked or twisted chains were worn principally by men, but not exclusively, as is clear from numerous early portraits—those, for instance, by the German painters Bernard Strigel and Lucas Cranach, whose ladies (as in the portrait by Cranach in the National Gallery) almost invariably have massive gold chains.

Though generally composed of metal rings, men’s chains, especially those worn by men of high rank, were occasionally composed of cylinders or plaques linked together and enriched with enamel and precious stones. Such jeweled collars were, however, chiefly reserved for women.

Henry VIII’s portraits generally show him adorned with magnificent collars set with pearls and precious stones, and it is recorded that on the occasion of his attending St. Paul’s at the proclamation of

peace in 1515 he wore a collar thickly studded with the finest carbuncles, as large as walnuts.

Among the numerous collars mentioned in his inventory of 1526 is a carkayne of hearts, with a hand at each end, holding a device of a goodly balasse garnished with five pearls and three diamonds, and a hanging pearl.”‘ The jeweled neck-chain worn by women, and composed of strings of precious stones, ” ropes of pearls,” or of jeweled and enameled sections, is often represented in pictures as being gathered in a festoon at the breast and hanging in loops at each side as low as the waist. A chain of gold of this character—one among many similar presented by the Earl of Leicester to Queen Elizabeth—was “made like a pair of beads, containing eight long pieces, garnished with small diamonds, and four score and one smaller pieces, fully garnished with like diamonds.

Besides the chains or collars worn round the neck and upon the shoulders, there were the actual neck lets worn round the throat, and often only distinguishable from the collar proper by their length. These necklaces, which almost invariably had as a central ornament an elaborate pendent jewel, are figured in such profusion in sixteenth-century portraits, particularly by the painters of the German school, that it is needless to mention particular examples.

In Henry VIIIs time they were worn in great abundance. The King loaded his wives with sumptuous jewels, and encircled their throats—on which the axe was eventually to fall—with jeweled and enameled necklaces. The ornaments of Queen Elizabeth, of which she received an immense number, were equally magnificent.

The forms of the necklaces and jeweled neck-chains differ so much that the reader must be referred to the various collections of this country and the Continent. Occasionally necklaces of chain formation or of plaited wire are set with stones, but of more frequent occurrence are those where every single link shows a special development of a bijou kind. In the Renaissance necklace every link is for the most part treated as a symmetrical composition, usually of pendent form. Hence it happens that in collections, as Herr Luthmer suggests, single links of this kind may occasionally be found incorrectly classified under the title of “pendants.”

Those in existence display a variety of very remarkable formations, for seldom are the links exactly alike: generally a large and a small motive are arranged alternately—a larger and more richly decorated central link being inserted into the middle of the chain for the purpose of supporting or introducing the rich pendent jewel. To this type belongs one of the most noteworthy necklaces in existence, which now forms part of the Adolphe Rothschild Bequest in the Louvre. It is of gold set with pearls and precious stones, and is composed of twenty-two openwork links and a pendant, all enameled in relief, the eleven larger links and the pendant containing each in separate compositions a story from the history of the Passion.

The groups of figures are of wonderful execution, and in spite of their minute proportions are singularly expressive, being worked in a delicate and at the same time most resolute manner. When exhibited by the Countess of Mount Charles at the Jewelry Exhibition at South Kensington in 1872, the jewel was 1 Nichols, Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, II thus referred to: “This superb specimen of Italian Cinquecento work has been attributed to Renvenuto Cellini, and is at least as good as anything extant known to be by his hand.” This cautious observation need not disconcert one ; for the jewel is too closely allied in style and workmanship to the jewelry of South Germany of the second half of the sixteenth century to permit of such attribution.

Nevertheless it must certainly be reckoned among the most elaborate examples of Cinquecento jewelry that have come down to us. (The great display of necklaces and long neck-chains ceased about the middle of the seventeenth century. In common with other similar objects they entirely disappeared in England during the Protectorate, nor were they ever worn again in any greater profusion.

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RENAISSANCE JEWELLERY FIFTEENTH CENTURY

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THE history of Renaissance jewelry in general may be approached by reviewing the condition of Italian jewelry in the fifteenth century. In the foregoing outline of European jewelry to the end of the fifteenth century—which has served as an approximate date for the termination of the medieval epoch—practically no reference has been made to Italy.

Italian jewelry certainly merits the great reputation it has always possessed. Nor is this’ surprising, considering the prominent part played by the goldsmiths in the renaissance of artistic taste—by these craftsmen who, in the highest sense artists, were the first to break the fetters of tradition, and yield to those impulses that sought a wider field for the gratification of their creative instinct.

Hence the history of the jeweler’s art in Italy at the period of the Quattrocento largely resolves itself into the biographies of those master sculptors and painters, who worked first as goldsmiths and jewelers, and throughout their careers remained ever mindful of their original trade.

Venice, which in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was the wealthiest city and the principal port in Europe, though rivaled in the former century by Bruges and by Antwerp in the latter, encouraged the use of luxurious jewelry, as did the great cities of the north.

But Florence undoubtedly took the lead as an artistic center, judging alone by the artists she produced. The paintings of the Venetian school (the work of Crivelli, for instance), and those of the schools of Tuscany, etc., reveal the exquisite beauty of ecclesiastical jewelry, and of the ornaments with which men, no less than women, loved to deck their persons.

Nearly every painter possessed an insight into the mysteries of the goldsmith’s craft, and represented his subject, whatever it might be, with careful attention to its jeweled accessories.The great merchants of opulent and artistic cities, such as Siena, Milan, and others, besides Venice and Florence, delighted in rich jewels; and the masters of the schools of painting which had their centers in these towns have preserved in glowing pigment a faithful record of these delicate works of art, on which the eminent jewelers of the day lavished their skill and ingenuity.

The great superiority and beauty of the personal ornaments revealed to us in this manner must first of all be ascribed to that awakening to the full joy of life that was so characteristic a feature of the Renaissance.

The rapture of spring ran riot in men’s veins. Life was an uninterrupted succession of revelry and gaiety, amid splendor of coloring and glitter of gold. The goldsmith emerges from the subordinate state he occupied in the medieval guild, and attains fame as a free artist, whose duty was to minister personally to the luxurious tastes of those who played a part in the gorgeous pageant of the new epoch.

The goldsmiths included among their ranks great master craftsmen, whose perfection of technical skill seemed to find satisfaction only in overcoming the greatest problems that their art could offer. Vasari tells of the very close connection and almost constant intercourse that existed between the goldsmiths and the painters.

Indeed, nearly every artist, before applying himself to painting, architecture, or sculpture, began with the study of the goldsmith’s craft, and passed the years of his apprenticeship in the technical details of an industry that then supplied the strictest method of design.

The names of several artists of the Renaissance have been handed down who are specially recorded as having worked at jewelry. One of the earliest of those who began their career in the goldsmith’s workshops is Ghiberti, who throughout life remained faithful to that species of work. His jewelry is specially extolled by Vasari. Following upon Ghiberti were two great jewelers, Tommaso (commonly called Maso) di Finiguerra and Antonio Pollaiuolo; the former famous for his nielli, the latter for his enamel-work upon relief.

Pollaiuolo’s love for jewel-forms in his paintings (executed together with his brother Piero) is seen not only in the Annunciation at Berlin, but in the group of SS. Eustace, James, and Vincent in the Uffizi, and the portrait of Simonetta Vespucci at Chantilly. – Born in 1435, a few years after Pollaiuolo, Andrea del Verrocchio resembled in the peculiar versatility of his genius, others of these typical artists of the Middle or High Renaissance—the Epoch of the Goldsmith it has been termed.

A jeweler whose influence in his own day was greater, and whose fame almost equaled that of Cellini, was Ambrogio Foppa, called Caradosso, who was born about 1446 at Milan. He worked first in the service of Ludovico Sforza, and afterwards at Rome, where he died as late as the year 1530. He seems to have been skilled in every branch of the goldsmith’s art, and especially excelled in making little medallions of gold, enriched with figures in high relief and covered with enamels, which were worn as en-seignes in the hat or hair.

His work in this direction is highly extolled by Cellini, and his skill in enameling specially mentioned by Vasari. Among the artists of the end of the fifteenth century who, after being goldsmiths and jewelers, became celebrated as painters must be mentioned Botticelli (1444-1510), Domenicodel Ghirlandaio(i449-i494), and Francia (1450-1517).

Ghirlandaio is commonly referred to as a maker of the jeweled coronals, popular with the unmarried and newly wedded ladies of Florence. It is probable that he did produce this class of work in early life, but his name seems to have been borne by several members of his family, for in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries a goldsmith was often familiarly termed “Ghirlandaio,” as one of his chief occupations was the manufacture of the rich head-ornaments then so much in vogue .

Though Ghirlandaio does not fill his pictures with dainty details like the intricate settings which Botticelli devised for the neck-pendants of the Graces in his ” Primavera,” yet he invariably pays careful regard to the representation of jeweled accessories. Such may be seen in the well-known portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni (1488), belonging to Mr. Pierpont Morgan (formerly in the Kann Collection).

She has two jewels: one, worn on her breast, is formed of a ruby in claw setting with a small beryl above, and hung with three pendent pearls; the other,specially introduced into the picture and cluster of stones—a ruby surrounded by two pearls and three beryls —beautifully set, and surmounted by a winged dragon with a sapphire over its head.

Resting upon a table in the foreground of another picture —a curious panel in the possession of Mr. George Salting—representing Costanza de’ Medici, are several pins, three rings on a roll of parchment, and a pendant hung with three pearls and set with a large and a small sapphire.

In the Pitti Gallery is a portrait, not by Do-jewei. in GhiViaTdTio’s portrait menico, but by his SOU Rldolfo ofGiovannaTornabuoni. Ghlrlandaio, which may be here alluded to owing to the special interest of its subject. The portrait is that of a jeweler holding in his hand and gazing intently at what is presumably one of his own creations—a richly enameled jewel fashioned in the form of a ” pelican in its piety.” Concerning the jewelry of the great goldsmith of Bologna, Francesco Raibolini, called Francia, a considerable amount of information has been preserved.

Born in 1450, he passed the best part of his life as a goldsmith, and not till he was upwards of forty did he abandon the goldsmith’s art for that of the painter.’ One of Francia’s finest paintings is the “Felicini” altar-piece in the Bologna Gallery, executed in 1484 by commission of Messer Bartolomeo Felicini for the church of S. Maria della Misericordia in that city.

Among the many splendid gifts this famous church had received was a jewel which the records say was set by Francia himself. Its beauty was held in such esteem, that by desire of the chapter the artist introduced it into his ‘ Williamson picture, where it can be seen hanging over the head of the Madonna.

Its center is occupied by a fine amethyst, and is bordered by deep blood-crimson enamel, with pearls at the angles. So carefully is every detail of this jewel painted, that a modern goldsmith has found no difficulty in copying it with absolute exactness.

The last of the great jewelers of the Quattrocento was Michelangelo di Viviano, who worked at Florence under the patronage of Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici. He was the earliest instructor of the greatest goldsmith and jeweler of the late Renaissance, Benvenuto Cellini, in whose Treatise and Life he is spoken of with the highest praise.

From actual examples we obtain but slight information of the Italian ornaments of the fifteenth century; but that there is a distinct alteration in the style of jewelry between the Quattrocento and the Cinque-cento, the pictures of these great artistic periods offer abundant proofs.

This difference is particularly noticeable in ornaments for the head. During the fifteenth century we find the forehead heightened, and the space thus obtained emphasized by a single jewel placed at the top of the brow. This form of ornament is admirably shown in Piero della Francesca’s “Nativity” in the National Gallery, and particularly in his ” Madonna and Child,” with saints and angels, and with the donor, Federigo of Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, in the Brera, Milan.

The parts of these two pictures most characteristic of the artist are the figures of the angels, who wear jewels executed with extraordinary brilliancy — compositions of pearls in delicate gold-work enriched with blue enamel. Precious stones and jewels were often sewn, at regular intervals, all round the band of ribbon that encircled the head, as seen in a portrait in the Ambrosiana, Milan, ascribed to Ambrogio da Predis, and considered to be that of Beatrice d’ Este; but it is more usual to find in the center of the brow an isolated jewel, held by a narrow ribbon or silken cord, knotted at the back of the head— as in Caroto’s portrait of the Duchess Elizabeth Gonzaga in the Uffizi, who wears on the forehead a jeweled scorpion, emblem of logic.

There is in the Louvre an attractive and greatly admired portrait of a lady, with her hair held in place by a black cord supporting a diamond in the middle of the forehead. For many years the portrait was entitled ” La Belle Ferronniere,” having been erroneously considered to be that of the blacksmith’s wife (ferronniere) whose beauty enthralled Francis I in his declining years.

It is now generally held to be a portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli, mistress of Ludovico Moro, Duke of Milan. The name of the painter is a matter of dispute, though the work is still ascribed, as it has long been, to Leonardo da Vinci.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the Romantic movement was at its height, a similar ornament was revived, and received its present name under a misconception of the subject of the picture.

In the sixteenth century this simple ornament is abandoned, and it was the painter’s task to depict magnificent coiffures, like those of Veronese’s ladies, sprinkled with jewels and entwined with ropes of pearls. As regards the ornaments for the neck, the changes of fashion in the two periods and the artistic mode of expressing the fashion demanded a different style of jewelry.

The slender neck which is displayed in the portraits of the earlier period required lighter ornaments than did the massive forms of the later. ” The artist no longer trifled with single gems, hanging on a thread, but painted a solid chain, and the light, close-fitting necklace becomes pendent and heavy.”‘

The distinct refinement exhibited in Italy in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries did not demand a great profusion or variety of jewelry. As the pendent ornament for the neck-chain, a simple jewel formed by one stone in the center and smaller stones or four pearls around seems in most cases to have been sufficient.

Circular pendants of niello-work surrounded by silver-gilt bands of corded ornament were much in use, and a small number, dating from about 1460 to 1530, have survived. They sometimes bear a religious subject.

But not infrequently the head of a lady is represented in profile, generally with a flower under her nose, and it is possible that these were worn by men as a pledge of affection from their lady-love.

Finger rings with somewhat similar designs were also worn. Beyond a small number of objects of this description, very few examples of Italian Quattrocento jewelry have escaped the crucible. The change of taste even between the early and the full Renaissance was sufficient to cause their destruction.

Among surviving jewels of this century is a very beautiful gold and enamel pendant in the collection of Mr. Pierpont Morgan. It is circular in form, and was probably intended as a reliquary. Upon the front is an Annunciation in high relief. The garment of the Virgin is enriched with red and blue, and that of the angel with red and white enamel; the checkard base being of translucent green.

Around is a border of leaves and flowers enameled red and white. The openwork back consists of a central rosette, surrounded by interlacing curves, and edged with a delicate wreath. It remains to draw attention, by means of a beautiful representation of jewelry in painting.

Some measure of compensation for the unfortunate lack of actual examples of Italian Quattrocento jewelry is obtained, apart from their representation in pictures, by the very remarkable use that was made of jewel forms for the marginal decoration of manuscripts.

Such enrichment s of the borders of missals, etc., by means of painted jewel ornaments, would seem to be but the direct outcome of the system whereby most of the painters, sculptors, architects, and no less eminent miniaturists received their first instruction in art in the workshops of the goldsmiths. It is certain from their quality that the jewels represented in manuscripts, generally in their natural size, are the work of artists well acquainted with the jeweler’s art, whose eyes were further impressed by the

embroidered edgings of ecclesiastical vestments enriched with jewel ornaments and sewn with pearls and precious stones.

In painting with corresponding luxury the border decorations of church missals, the miniaturists have obviously not drawn on their imagination, or constructed jewel forms in a mere haphazard manner. The individual pieces, often complete jewels, are just such as might at the time have been found on the shelves of some goldsmith’s workshop.

Among the most skillful of such reproductions of jewels are those in the celebrated choir books of the cathedral of Siena, particularly the pages painted by Liberale di Giacomo da Verona, who worked at Siena from the year 1466. An examination of these illuminations reveals Liberale as an artist thoroughly conversant with the jeweler’s craft: so that his work, together with that of his followers, such as the Florentine Giovanni di Giuliano Boccardi, the Dominican Fra Eustachio, Litti di Filippo Corbizi, Monte di Giovanni, Antonio di Girolamo, the famous Attavante, and the various miniaturists of King Mathias Corvinus of Hungary, apart from its charming execution, constitutes a veritable storehouse of information respecting the ornaments of the period.

Particularly fine examples of jeweled and enameled decorations are also contained in choir books in the cathedral of Florence, missals in the Barberini Palace, Rome, a Bible of Mathias Corvinus in the Vatican Library, several books in the Brera at Milan, and the fine Glockendon missal {circa 1540) in the Town Library at Nuremberg. More important perhaps than all is the Grimani Breviary, now in the Library of St. Mark’s, Venice. The ornamentation of this famous work, the product of a Flemish artist of the final years of the fifteenth century, displays a northern naturalism favorable to the striking representation of jewel forms, and serves to illustrate the close and active relationship, then existing between the Flemish and Italian goldsmiths.

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