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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/262

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METAL-WORK


224


METAL-WORK


stylo give way to tho luirizoiilal Iciuloncy, llip forms become more viijoroiis ;iiiil compact, the vessels ac- quire a more fiexilile silhouette. However, the early Renaissance left the forms of the commonest vessels, the chalices and crosses, almost untouched, inasmuch as the tradition of a thousaml yi'ars made I hem appear sacred ; we have numerous chalices of the Kenaissance, tlie b;ise of which shows the Moorish and (iothic foils and the knob, the Gothic rotuli. Not until the late Renaissance were the circular forms and volutes gen- erally employed. In other respects the customary Renaissance ornaments, which are by no means the least charm of this style, are employed in ecclesias- tical and worldly articles indifferently. Putti, herma", caryatides, garlands, grotesques, acanthus leaves, furthermore the elements taken from architecture, such as columns, pillars, capitals, entalilatures, balus- ters form an inexhauslil)le source of constant change.

Silver during the Renaissance no longer maintains the position it won for itself during the Gothic period. Several distinguished religious works in silver have been preserved, but they are far surpassed both numerically and artistically by the works in bronze; the latter are often coveretl with silver or gold. The artistic ornamentation of both ecclesiastical and secu- lar metal-work consists especially of delicately exe- cuted representations in relief, which at first appear in motleration at the more important points, but laterpre- sumptuously cover the entire surface. At the same time enamel is very frequently employed, sometimes the previously mentioned translucent enamel, which completely covers the portions in relief with a coloured surface, sometimes also the Venetian enamel, which flourished from about 1500-1550. It was used to coat jugs and bowls, candle-sticks, candelabra, and ciboria. Another favourite form of decoration con- sisted in the combination of metals and crystals; this type of decoration occurs during the Middle Ages, but was more systematically and artistically carried out in the Renaissance. The art of gem-engraving likewise was again practiced after ancient models upon cameos and gems. The ecclesiastical works of the Renaissance therefore often represent an enormous value. We need mention here only the value of a few papal tiaras. A tiara, which Sixtus IV had made by the Venetian goldsmith Bartolomeo di Tomaso, was valued at 110,000 ducats. Julius II confided to the Milanese jeweller Caradossa the making of a tiara valued at 200,000 ducats (nearly 200,000 dollars). Hardly any works of really marked importance, if we except the previoasly mentioned altars in Florence and Pistoia, the completion of which falls in this period, have been preserved from the Renals.sance. We may again mention a few reliquaries at Siena, which re- veal a pronounced change compared with the monu- mental shrines of the Romanesciue and Gothic periods. They are silver caskets with sides in openwork, per- mitting a view of the relics. The use of crystals is ex- emplified in a beautiful pax from Monte Cassino (now in Berlin).

Elsewhere the influence of the Renaissance upon church metal -work was early apparent. In the beginning only the non-essentials were borrowed from the Italian Renaissance ; it was the ornament that was copied ; the fundamental forms long re- mained Gothic. To the above-mentioned types the Germans added especially the scroll-work, which was by preference combined with the Moresque and then served as a pattern for the surface; it is not un- known in Italy, but in Germany it held almost undisputed sway for about thirty or forty years. In Gennany tluring the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- turies the cities of Augsburg and Nuremberg gained extraordinary fame by the manufacture of artistic metal-work; their products were eagerly sought after throughout the entire world. The Augsburg gold- smith, George Seld, in 1402 furnished one of the first


Renaissance works in (iermuny, a silv(>r altar in the Rciclien Kapelle at .Munich ; here we find nude i)utti, flowers growing out of acanthus calyces, friezes, and panels which breathe wholly the spirit of the Italian Renaissance. A goldsmith of Nuremburg, Melchior Bayo, in 1.53S, by order of King Sigismund ] of Poland, made an altar of chased silver which is in the chapel of the .lagellons in the cathedral at Krakow. Besides these there are no religious works of any importance from this period. As is proved by the " Book of Holy Objects " of Cardinal Albrecht of Mayence, a few prel- ates indeed were intent on increasing the treasures of their churches in the new style, but as a rule the exi- gencies of the times did not permit the manufacture of larger works in metal. So far as the smaller utensils are concerned, these, even as late as the mid- dle of the sixteenth century, still show Gothic forms, as, for instance, a chalice of the well-known Gebhard von Mansfeld, Archbishop of Cologne, in the "griinen Gewiilbe" at Dresden (about l.WO). All the works of this period are sur|)assed by the productions which the goldsmith .\nton Kisenhoit made about the year 1590 for Theodor am Fiirstenberg, Prince-Bishop of Paderbom; these are a chalice, crucifix, liook-cover, and a vessel for holy water. The articles are most exquisitely ornamented with noble Renaissance forms done in flat chasing. The most beautiful works of the Renaissance in Southern Germany, reliquaries, chal- ices, monstrances, etc., are in the Reichen Kapelle at Munich. France, like Italy, has a large amount of documentary evidence of the manufacture of metal- work for the Church, but the endless wars of Louis XIV and the Revolution consigned them almost without exception to the melting-pot. A chalice in the church of St-Jean du Doigt (about 1540), which has a stout knob transformed into a chapel, and the cup and base being covered with clumsy tendrils, is the only work which we are able to name here.

Besides the works of the goldsmith's art-, the pro- ductions in base metal must not remain entirely un- noticetl. These came not rarely from the workshops of the goldsmiths. The most important founderies were in Florence and Padua. It is not always easy to distinguish between the works of sculpture and those of the industrial arts. Certainly a large number of magnificent bronze railings belong to the latter — the most beautiful is in the cathedral at Prato, the work of Bruno di Ser Lapo Mazzei (1444) — as do also the candelabra, which, because of their elegance of form and tlelicate ornamentation, are very effective. The best known specimen is the excessively omsr- mented candelabrum in II Santo at Padua, the master- piece of Riccio (lolfi). From bronze there were also manufactured for the service of the Church Sanctus bells, candlesticks, vessels for holy water, hanging lamps, about the details of which we need not here concern ourselves. We merely add that the works in iron are confined more particularly to the railings in the side-chapels of the larger churches ; they are of no interest, however, from the standpoint of the history of art.

The last periods of church metal-work can be con- cisely described. Like the whole of the baroque art, the metal-work of the C'hureh of this epoch, when compared with the delicately balanced regularity of the Renaissance, also shows a certain clumsiness antl unrest, which in the rococo develops onesidedly into absolute irregularity, to be changed in the Clas- sici.sm which followed, into the exact opposite, a pedantic, inflexible rigidity. These peculiarities of the new styles do not, of course, find expression in the goldsmith's art to the same extent as in the plastic arts. Nevertheless this evolution is not wholly lack- ing even in the smaller church utensils: it may, for instance, be clearly observed in the chalice, which in the baroque style is overloaded with broad, clumsy ornaments ; in the rococo the forms became more deli-