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Inscription

on reverse, an incised timetelling device, including, in four lines across the bottom, zodiacal signs and abbreviations for the months spelled in canonical Tuscan Italian: [Capricorn] [Aquarius] [Pisces] [Aries] [Taurus] [Gemini] / GEN[NAIO] FEB[RAIO] MAR[ZO] APR[ILE] MAG / NOV[EMBRE] OTT[OBRE] SET[TEMBRE] AGO[STO] LVG[LIO] / [Sagittarius] [Scorpio] [Libra] [Virgo] [Leo] [Cancer]; sideways in the right margin: GIV[GNO]; sideways in the left margin: DEC[EMBRE] [1]

Inscription Notes

[1] The timetelling device, which is pierced into the upper edge and engraved across the reverse, is an early example of a portable altitude sundial (a vertical plate dial), arranged to tell the hour by registering the height of the sun above the horizon. Such devices are specific to one latitude, and the calibrations on the reverse of this plaquette seem probably to indicate its utility for the area between 45 and 46 degrees of north latitude; that is, for a part of Europe that includes Lombardy and the Veneto in Italy.

Marks and Labels

Reverse formerly bore previous inventory numbers P.10 (for Plaquette no. 10) in black paint (Bode/Thieme 1897/1906) and 100 in white paint (Hainauer/Duveen 1908); painted numerals removed in 1982 cleaning; chemical imprints of the former numbers remain marginally visible.

Provenance

Oscar Hainauer [d. 1894], Berlin; his wife, Julie Hainauer, Berlin; acquired 1906 by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York); by exchange 21 October 1920 to Joseph E. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; gift 1942 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1964
The Nude in Art, The Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia, Canada, 1964, no. 20.
Bibliography
1897
Bode, Wilhelm von, ed. Die Sammlung Oscar Hainauer / The Collection of Oscar Hainauer. [bound as one volume, English and German pages interleaved in one page sequence] Berlin, 1897 and London, 1906: no. 151.
1908
A Cabinet of One Hundred & Thirty-Three Bronze Plaques and Medals of the Renaissance Period from the Collection of the Late Herr Oscar Hainauer of Berlin. Ed. Duveen Brothers. London, n.d. (but 1908): no. 100, repro.
1942
Works of Art from the Widener Collection. Foreword by David Finley and John Walker. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 15.
1983
Wilson, Carolyn C. Renaissance Small Bronze Sculpture and Associated Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1983: 108, no. 20.
1989
Lewis, Douglas. "The Plaquettes of 'Moderno' and His Followers." Studies in the History of Art 22 (1989): 123, repro.
2013
Leino, Marika. Fashion, Devotion and Contemplation: The Status and Functions of Italian Renaissance Plaquettes. Oxford, 2013: 55 fig. 30, 56.
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