Oval jasper bowl and cover
© 1996 RMN / Daniel Arnaudet
The Crown collection is rich in Italian vases, many of which come from Milan. Several of these vases were made in the Sarachi workshop, which was active in Milan in the second half of the 16th century. The Sarachis produced hard-stone vases, as well as their mounts. The jasper bowl with lid in the Louvre is characteristic of the work of the Sarachis.
The Sarachi workshop
Bartolomeo Sarachi was a crystal engraver. His five sons, Giovanni-Ambrogio (born c. 1540), Simone, Stefano, Michele, and Raffaello, also crystal engravers, worked together. The eldest son had four sons, two of whom (Pietro-Antonio and Costanzo) became goldsmiths; the two others (Gabriele and Gasparo) became crystal engravers. The vase mounts could thus be executed while the vases themselves were being cut. The Sarachi workshop rapidly gained a reputation among persons in high places for its talent, and had a prestigious cosmopolitan clientele: the dukes of Bavaria, the dukes of Savoy, the grand duke of Tuscany, and the dukes of Mantua. The workshop produced rock-crystal vases as well as colored-stone vases. Their mounts are often in enameled gold decorated with pearls and precious stones, like that of the bowl in the Louvre.
The jasper bowl is cut into six gadroons. The two largest incorporate the spouts formed by two grotesque masks in relief with slanting eyes, flat noses, and long mustaches. The belly has four tenons to attach the handles and a tenon to attach the circular base. The round lid, which is also cut into six gadroons, has an acorn knob. This gadrooned shape is similar to that of a bloodstone oval bowl in the Prado in Madrid.
The mount is typical of the work of the Sarachis. It is in white enamel decorated with gold foliage in reverse. It comprises a knob, the rim of the lid, the ring on the foot, and the edge of the base. The wide rim of the lid is thin and perforated like that of the vase OA 38, another piece by the Sarachi workshop in the Louvre. The rim is studded with rubies in eight-prong white enamel settings alternating with pearls. The handles, similar to those of the vase MR 285, are in the form of winged female terms: the face and body are in exposed gold, the body is decorated with two enameled bands, and the wings are in polychrome enamel. The vase in the Prado also features gold foliage on a white ground.
BibliographyAlcouffe Daniel, Les Gemmes de la Couronne, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001, p. 274-275.
Oval jasper bowl and cover
Last quarter of 16th century
Mount: enamelled gold, rubies, pearls
H. 18 cm; W. 22 cm
Entered the collection of Louis XIV before 1673
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