Overview

No overview available.

Inscription

on scroll held by angel: AVE GRACIA PLENA DO...NVS;on base of setting: AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA.DNS TECV

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Émile Molinier, Paris (?), "said to have come from a church in Florence";[1] purchased by Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, by 1918?[2], as Italian, fifteenth century; inheritance from the Estate of Peter A. B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, after purchase by funds of the Estate, 1942.

Exhibition History

Bibliography

1935
_Inventory of the Objects d'Art at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, The Estate of the Late P.A.B. Widener. Philadelphia, 1935: 33.
1942
_Works of Art from the Widener Collection. Foreword by David Finley and John Walker. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 10, as Italian 15th Century, Pax, carved on a shell.
1983
Wilson, Carolyn C. Renaissance Small Bronze Sculpture and Associated Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1983: 213, no. 1, as Franco-Flemish, fifteenth century, in a later, possibly Italian setting.
1993
Distelberger, Rudolf, Alison Luchs, Philippe Verdier, and Timonthy H. Wilson. Western Decorative Arts, Part I: Medieval, Renaissance, and Historicizing Styles including Metalwork, Enamels, and Ceramics. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1993: 67-71, repro. 68.

Technical Summary


[1] Richard Houbrick of the Division of Mollusks, National Museum of Natural History, who examined the shell on 5 November 1985, noted that the carving had not left enough surface to permit a certain identification, but that what remained was consistent with a shell of this kind, found in the Red Sea and along the east coast of Africa. He observed that such shells often came to Europe as ballast in the holds of Dutch and Portuguese trading ships.
\r[2] On this substance, possibly pitch, see Martha A. McCrory, "Renaissance Shell Cameos from the Carrand Collection of the Museo Nazionale del Bargello," BurlM 130 (1988), 412-413. See also Rudolf Berliner, "Französische Muschelschnitte, zugleich ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Säkularisarisation in Bayern," MunchJb neue folge 1 (1924), 38-39.
[3] Barbara A. Miller, conservation scientist, reported (21 January 1983), based on X-ray fluorescence analysis, that the three sections of silver inlay along the right side, the section on the upper left, and the left section at the bottom are of the same composition, while the other pieces are silver-copper alloys of widely varying compositions. The plinth with the inscription is mercury-gilded, making it impossible to compare its silver alloy with those of the other sections.
[4] Widener 1935, 33.

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