An Adoration and Lamentation of Iberian-Italian origin

by Michael Riddick

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Fig. 01: Adoration of the Shepherds, here attributed to the workshop or circle of Giovan Antonio Polacini (?), 1561, Milan, Italy, gilt bronze with silver applications (Walters Art Museum, Inv. 54.229)
Fig. 02: Lamentation, here attributed to the workshop or circle of Giovan Antonio Polacini (?), ca. 1561, Milan, Italy, partially gilt bronze with silver applications (Detroit Institute of Arts, Inv. 24.77)

A pair of medium-sized reliefs depicting the Adoration of the Shepherds (Fig. 01) and a Lamentation (Fig. 02) are known by an innumerable quantity of casts in private and public collections. Certain particularities distinguish the casts by their treatment of draperies, textures and minor additions or subtractions to the reliefs. Examples of the Adoration feature various dates integrally inscribed in the casts and examples of both reliefs were produced over the centuries in a variety of mediums1 and using diverse means of facture.2

The finest known casts of the Adoration feature an inscription, PARM INVENT, along the entablature of the architectural ruins depicted in the scene and a broken capital resting on the ground, along the lower margin, features the date: 1561.

Evidence of the relief’s success and its continued reproduction are observed by later, probably contemporaneous casts, featuring the dates: 1580,3 15864 and 1600.5 Further dated examples, featuring an alternative inscription along the entablature, GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO, include the years: 1587,6 1589,7 and 1590.8

A terminus ante quem for the Lamentation relief is secured by a bronze aftercast example at the Civic Museum of Ferrara which features the Venetian foundry stamp of Santo or Joseph de Levis, dated 1577.9

Prospero Rizzini first cataloged examples of the Adoration relief at the Musei Civici di Brescia, suggesting its design was inspired by a Parmigianino painting, a logical assumption based on the inscribed entablature which plausibly reads PARM[IGIANINO] INVENT[ORE].10 Andrea Moschetti followed the suggestion, instead assuming it derived from an unidentified drawing by that master.11 In spite of Parmigianino’s death in 1540, other scholars maintained these notions in consideration of the longevity of the artist’s influence.12

Soon thereafter another possible candidate, the Parmense goldsmith and medallist, Gian Federico Bonzagna, was forwarded as a possible identity for PARM INVENT.13 Bonzagna signed his medals with varying abbreviations of IOANNES FEDERICUS PARMENSIS. The suggestion gathered even more widespread acceptance than the association with Parmigianino and is today still frequently referenced as the inventor of the reliefs notwithstanding Francesco Rossi’s rejection of the idea, commenting on its “total absence of any connections with Bonzagna’s known work,”14 and Anthony Geber’s observation that Bonzagna always included his first name in his signatures,15 absent on the Adoration relief. More recently, Charles Avery noted Bonzagna’s medallic reverses do not satisfactorily relate to the two reliefs16 and Doug Lewis rejected their association with Bonzagna, commenting on a pax featuring a Lamentation thought to be the work of Bonzagna and whose design has nothing in common with the Lamentation relief here discussed.17

Other scholars have taken a more reserved approach toward the reliefs like Wilhelm von Bode who simply described them as 16th century Italian works.18 Ernst Bange19 and Max Bernhart considered them possibly Venetian20 and others designated the pair as Emilian, ca. 1550-75,21 or possibly Roman.22

Lewis’ recent ascription of the two reliefs to Pellegrino Tibaldi remains unpublished23 but was acknowledged and accepted by Avery.24 Lewis related Tibaldi’s activity in Bologna, where Parmigianino was active between 1527-31 and where the printmaker, Giulio Bonasone, reproduced his designs, as key components to the genesis of the reliefs. Unfortunately, no known works by Parmigianino are analogous to the reliefs, save for Lewis’ interesting observation that the triumphal Roman arch in the background of his panel of the Madonna with Saint Zacharias corresponds to the architectural setting of the Adoration. Most other comparisons made by Lewis are perhaps too superficial and rely again on the suggestion that a lost drawing or potential composite of Parmigianino-themed works could have served as sources for the Adoration and Lamentation designs. While the suggestion of Tibaldi is fresh and adventurous, to the present author’s knowledge, he is not known to have worked in metal sculpture and his stone reliefs have nothing in common with the stylistic character of the Adoration and Lamentation reliefs.

Fig. 03: Christ Healing the blind near Jericho, circle of Giovanni da Nola, partially gilt stained-wood (Sacristy of Santissima Annunziata Maggiore, Naples)

Rather, the reliefs most convincingly belong to the artistic milieu of Iberian influences in the Spanish-ruled cities of Naples and Milan. As will be shown, the motifs displayed on the two reliefs do not rely on Emilian sources but rather very evident ones fusing Iberian and Italian modalities. Lewis, in conducting the earliest census of casts of both reliefs, observed that a quantity of them were probably cast in Spain.25

The Spanish occupation of Naples and Milan, where Spanish governors were active participants in the cultural life of those cities,26 and where trade between Catalonia and Naples, for example, was prominent,27 resulted in a visual language in which Iberian and Italian influences converged. In Naples, the centerpiece of this transaction is evident in the projects taking place at Santissima Annunziata Maggiore (Fig. 03) whereas in Milan we observe it in certain features of the Milan Cathedral as well as in the arms trade (Fig. 04) which frequently exported to Hapsburg patrons and other European courts.28

Fig. 04: Parade Shield, anonymous, ca. 1550-59, Milan, Italy, silver and gold damascened steel; Wallace Collection, UK, Inv. A325

The visual language of this cultural merger is most evident on the impact it had on artists commuting between Spain and these cities who fell under the indelible spell of Michelangelo’s overarching influence in Italy as well as Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo. It’s worth noting Adalbert von Lanna (or his cataloguer’s) early comment on Michelangelo’s influence on the Lamentation relief,29 in particular, we observe an attendant in the Lamentation scene grasping his face, borrowing from Michelangelo’s Jeremiah of the Sistine Chapel frescoes (Fig. 05).

Fig. 05: Detail of a Lamentation, here attributed to the workshop or circle of Giovan Antonio Polacini (?), ca. 1561, Milan, Italy (Detroit Institute of Arts) (left); detail of Jeremiah by Michelangelo Buonarroti, ca. 1508-12, Sistine Chapel, Rome (right)

As regards sculpture, an early example of Iberian-Italian fusion is observed in the work of Diego de Silóe, whose father had worked in Italy, and especially Bartolomé Ordóñez, both natives of Burgos who traveled to Italy and established themselves in Naples.

A striking parallel to the relief of the Lamentation is a walnut devotional panel (Fig. 06) carved in the stiacciato technique pioneered by Donatello, first observed by Riccardo Naldi.30 The panel was possibly made to help win the commission for the choir stalls of Barcelona Cathedral where the motif is again reprised (Fig. 07). The figural form of Christ descends from Florence where Ordóñez is presumed to have been active, inspired by Donatello’s Deposition of the San Lorenzo pulpits or Fra Bartolomeo’s painting of the subject.

Fig. 06: Lamentation of Christ by Bartolomé Ordóñez, ca. 1518-19, Barcelona, Spain, walnut (private collection)
Fig. 07: Deposition of Christ by Bartolomé Ordóñez, ca. 1518-19, wood (Barcelona Cathedral choir stalls)

The cross-pollination of the design is again evident between Barcelona and Naples through its recurrence on a marble Deposition Ordóñez made for the Tomb of Bonifacio at the Church of Santi Severino e Sossio or in other works like a relief on the altar of Salerno Cathedral’s Vicariis Chapel, thought executed by an unknown Neapolitan sculptor during the 1520s-30s (Fig. 08). Ordóñez’s marble Deposition features themes apparent in both the Adoration and Lamentation reliefs, notably the face of the mourning Virgin on the left, the figural form of the deposed Christ and the inward leaning figure on the right whose back and drapery are implied by the right-most figure on the Adoration (Fig. 09).

Fig. 08: Deposition by Bartolomé Ordóñez, marble (Tomb of Bonifacio at the Church of Santi Severino e Sossio, Naples) (top); Lamentation, anonymous Neapolitan sculptor, ca. 1520s-30s (altar of Vicariis chapel at Salerno Cathedral, Italy) (bottom)
Fig. 09: Detail of a Deposition by Bartolomé Ordóñez (Tomb of Bonifacio, Naples) (top-left); detail of an Adoration by Bartolomé Ordóñez, marble (San Giovanni a Carbonara Church, Naples) (bottom-left); details of a bronze Lamentation and Adoration (right)

An early influence upon the Adoration relief is again noted in the marble panel of the same subject Ordóñez realized for the Chapel of Caracciolo di Vico at San Giovanni a Carbonara Church in Naples wherein the crouching figure at the lower left corner is related, though borrows the turned head of the right-most attendant of the marble relief. A portico, crowned by multiple cornices, might prefigure the 1561 Adoration, along with the brick wall featured at the right of the relief (Figs. 09, 10).

Fig. 10: Adoration by Bartolomé Ordóñez, marble (Chapel of Caracciolo di Vico at San Giovanni a Carbonara Church, Naples)

The essence of this Iberian-Italian style is maintained in Naples by other sculptors like Giovanni da Nola whose tomb for Ramón de Cardona, made in 1522-25, was transported piecemeal from Naples to the Church of Bellpuig in Lleida, Spain or via members of his circle responsible for works like an Annunciation of the Virgin at SS. Annunziata (Fig. 11),31 and more broadly through the influence of Alonso Beruguette whose adoption of these motifs may inform of a possible pass through Naples which has often been conjectured.32 Certainly, the motifs appear in the work of Alonso’s pupils and collaborators,33 namely Francisco Giralte, a student of Berrugeuete between 1532-35 and later a chief sculptor in his workshop between 1539-42, helping to execute the wood choir stalls of Toledo Cathedral.34

Fig. 11: Detail of the Adoration, here attributed to the workshop or circle of Giovan Antonio Polacini (?), 1561, Milan, Italy, gilt bronze with silver applications; Walters Art Museum, Inv. 54.229 (left); Annunciation of the Virgin, circle of Giovanni da Nola, partially gilt stained-wood (Sacristy of Santissima Annunziata Maggiore, Naples) (right)

Giralte’s style is uniquely distinct from that of his teacher, being of a tempered character which especially relates to our pair of Adoration and Lamentation reliefs. His panel of Job on the Dunghill Reviled by his Wife35 (Fig. 12) shows the same model of Christ in the Lamentation substituted for Job whose physiognomy and posture are comparable while his wife’s gesture recalls those leaning inwardly on both the Lamentation and Adoration reliefs. We may also call attention to idiosyncrasies, especially of draperies, observed in his other panels of the Lamentation (Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid), Holy Family, Annunciation (Fig. 13), and Anna Selbdritt (Mullany Fine Art) which convey a similar stylistic essence.

Fig. 12: Job on the Dunghill Reviled by his Wife, attributed to Francisco Giralte, ca. 1550, wood (Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid)
Fig. 13: Adoration and Lamentation, here attributed to the workshop or circle of Giovan Antonio Polacini (?), ca. 1561, bronze, Milan, Italy (left); Annunciation and Holy Family, attributed to Francisco Giralte, ca. 1550, wood (Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid) (right)

Of similar approach is a small low-relief Burial of Christ by Manuel Álvarez, carved in wood, from about 1550-55,36 clearly inspired by Ordóñez’s relief of the subject with an Italian styling indebted to Berruguete’s influence as well. A superficial correspondence may also be noted between the figure of the infant Christ of the Adoration and Álvarez’s marble Adoration at the Museo Marés in Barcelona (Fig. 14).

Fig. 14: Burial of Christ attributed to Manuel Álvarez, ca. 1550-55, wood panel (private collection) (top); detail of the Adoration by Manuel Álvarez, marble (Museo Marés, Barcelona) (bottom-left); detail of the Adoration, Milan, 1561, bronze (Walters Art Museum) (bottom-right)

Like Giralte, Álvarez served as a young assistant to Berruguete, employed also during the production of the choir stalls for the Toledo Cathedral. His proximity to Giralte is evinced by his later marriage to Giralte’s sister.

The continued presence of these motifs between Italy and Spain, leading into the 1550s, is a certain catalyst for their appearance on our two reliefs presumed made in 1561. While it is unlikely Giralte modeled the low-relief plaques of the Lamentation and Adoration,37 he may have had an influence on or could have been responsible for some phase of their designs. Though he is predominantly known as a sculptor he was also a draftsman, though no drawings by him are yet identified.38 Documents relating to the lawsuit against his sculptural rival, Juan de Juni, make repeated reference to his numerous designs for painters, sculptors and silversmiths,39 thus linking him as a possible candidate for providing designs to be prepared in metal. Documents place Giralte in Madrid during 1561,40 the year Philip II permanently established his court there and an ample location for the diffusion of ideas and designs into Spanish held territory across the Mediterranean.

The scale of the Adoration and Lamentation suggest a possible use on tabernacles or house altars. Notable is their subtlety of relief; whose modest height relies on strong compositions and remarkable surface refinement to add virtuosity to their character rather than a delicacy of modeling. This is especially evident on the crisply cast and remarkably ornamented versions of the relief which feature partial silvering for flesh tones or the addition of small silver studs used to highlight fabric patterns or architectural features. The unique scale of these plaques, coupled with their manner of relief and ornamentation, exclusively places their execution alongside the steel and iron armorers of Spanish-occupied Milan whose production of reliefs are a much-understudied subject in the category of plaquettes.

While the primary figural groups featured on the reliefs have an evident Iberian-Italian origin, their backgrounds are distinctly of-the-kind observed in the production of armor in Milan during the third quarter of the 16th century. The impressive and complex patterns featured on the drapery of the protagonists not only imitate the estofado tradition of Spain but also incorporate exotic Moorish patterns characteristic of the goldsmiths and damascenders active in Milan’s weapon and arms production. In particular, we may observe the application of small silver studs in their craft, like those featured on a richly ornamented hunting spear for Archduke Ferdinand II by Giovanni Battista Panzeri in 1560 (Fig. 15).41

Fig. 15: Detail of a damascened spear-head with silver applications by Giovan Battista Panzeri, 1560 (Kunsthistorisches Museum) (top); detail of an Adoration

The style and shallow depth of the Adoration and Lamentation plaques are also congruent with the embossed steel and iron reliefs carefully hammered in repoussé by master Milanese armorers, suggesting the original models of the Adoration and Lamentation were probably steel molds rather than plaster casts derived from wax or clay models. However, their likely origin in a Milanese arms workshop where goldsmiths, foundrymen, damascenders and other specialized artisans congregated, yet establishes them as an eccentric production in a locus where shields, swords, armor and scenes of mythology and Marcus Curtius’ heroic deeds were eminent. This later observation is perhaps also why Milan has been overlooked as a possible place of origin for these pendant reliefs depicting the birth and death of Christ.

Narrowing their origin are two Milanese workshops specializing in armor that are exclusively known to have produced and marketed objects beyond the arms industry, to include damascened steel desks, cabinets, and other various luxury items, and more scarcely, items of a devotional nature, like paxes and traveling altars.42 These two workshops were respectively supervised by Panzeri, already noted, and Giovanni Antonio Polacini.43

While much more is known of Panzeri’s production and style, the surviving work of Polacini is scarcely known. Polacini, also called Romerio or Romè, received training at a young age under the tutelage of Giovan Ambrogio Vimodrone between 1540-44, learning an education in “the art of adorning armor and swords.”44 In 1545 Polacini contracted the damascender, Marco Antonio Fava, who would serve both Panzeri and Polacini intermittently throughout their careers.45

The only work firmly known to be the workmanship of Polacini-Fava are three large embossed reliefs for a tabernacle depicting scenes of the Last Supper, Supper at Emmaus and of the Miracle of the Eucharist which, according to legend, took place at the Parish Church of St. Oswald in Seefeld, Austria (Fig. 16). The tabernacle was commissioned for that church by Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol at the price of 2000 florins, paid in 1576.46 The reliefs were still at the church in 1862 but the tabernacle must have been dismantled by 1876 where parts were dispersed, first noted belonging to a blacksmith from Innsbruck and then entering the antiques market and whose whereabouts have remained unknown for the past century-and-a-half.47

Fig. 16: Damascened steel reliefs of the Last Supper, Miracle of the Eucharist and Supper at Emmaus by Giovan Antonio Polacini and Marco Antonio Fava, 1576

Specific idiosyncrasies observed on these three reliefs may suggest a relationship with the Adoration and Lamentation reliefs. First is their apparent reliance upon models, in this case, by Guadenzio Ferrari of Milan as noted by Silvio Leydi.48 Polacini’s reliance on models is also documented in the preparation of a table made for the Duke of Alba in 1559, featuring ovular reliefs with motifs and figures provided by Leone Leoni.49 The reach of Polacini’s workshop is also evinced by his employ of emissaries to help facilitate his affairs in various courts of Europe, such as his recruitment of Battista de Angelis in Vienna who managed his affairs with the Habsburgs situated there during the early 1560s.50

However, it’s the finer, distinguishing qualities of Polacini’s skill as a chaser and embosser of steel that most suggestively link the Adoration and Lamentation reliefs with those destined for Seefeld. Of initial note are the extravagant and diversely juxtaposed pattern-work of his draperies and backgrounds, giving vibrant life to the compositions. The stylistic modeling of the characters faces can also be related with the orbs of the eyes rendered smooth and enclosed by almond-shaped lids. The hair, beards and moustaches are rendered in equivalent volume with short wavy strokes, deeply chased into the surface of the relief to delineate texture. The helix of the ears are modeled thicker-than-nature and the hands feature comparable postures and elegance (Fig. 17). The dog at the base of the Last Supper also echoes the sheep held by an attendant in the Adoration.

Fig. 17: Details of the Adoration, here attributed to the circle or workshop of Giovan Antonio Polacini (?), Milan, 1561, bronze (Walters Art Museum) (left); details from the Seefeld tabneracle reliefs by Giovan Antonio Polacini and Marco Antonio Fava, 1576 (right)

A particular parallel is observed in the stylistic preference for rendering clouds while the crudely chased architectural forms in the background feature comparably well, in particular, the unusually imaginative dome in the center of the Last Supper panel echoes that featured on the Adoration, probably inspired by the transmission of ideas from the gilt-wood panels at SS. Annunziata in Naples, executed in the 1550s (Fig. 18).51 More specifically, the unusual orb set atop its spire features again on the background of a building along the left-side of the Adoration, a peculiar feature scarcely observed in any other chased background architectures of Milanese production. Lastly, the general importance given to architecture in his reliefs relates it well with the Adoration.

Fig. 18: Detail of a panel of Christ Healing, circle of Giovanni da Nola, partially gilt stained-wood (Sacristy of Santissima Annunziata Maggiore, Naples) (left); details of the Adoration, here attributed to the circle or workshop of Giovan Antonio Polacini (?), Milan, 1561, bronze (Walters Art Museum) (second-from-left; right); detail from the Seefeld tabneracle Last Supper relief by Giovan Antonio Polacini and Marco Antonio Fava, 1576 (second-from-right)

In spite of the correspondences between the Seefeld reliefs and pendant Adoration and Lamentation, there is yet the possibility of other embossers being involved as hired-hands in Polacini’s workshop, such as Giovan Antonio Appiani whom Fava had independently hired in 1561 as a relief embosser,52 later to join Fava alongside Polacini in 1563.53 Yet more mysterious is the inscription, PARM INVENT, which in spite of all the correspondences drawn in this article, still provides no confident explanation for its meaning though its integral feature in the scene recalls the habit by which armorers would conceal signatures and dates in their work. Nor is an impetus for their creation known, though the influence of the Counter-Reformer Charles Borromeo of Milan and the presence of a Milanese pope in 1561 may suggest an atmosphere of patronage related to the reliefs.54

The continued transmission of ideas between Spain and their outlying territories in Italy also evinces a hasty diffusion of the Milanese production of these reliefs into Spain. Lewis suggests examples of the relief featuring the inscription, GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO, were possibly the product of Spanish foundries during the 1580s.55 Certainly, by 1570 the presence of the Adoration is already secured by its reproduction on the high altar at the Parish Church of Urroz in Navarre, executed by Miguel de Espinal (Fig. 19).56

Fig. 19: Wood panel of the Adoration by Miguel de Espinal, ca. 1570, high altar of the Parish Church of Urroz in Navarre

Of final note is a much later treatment of the Adoration reliefs, known by examples in pressed silver with an added bead-and-lozenge border and sometimes featuring a brick façade, of varying height, along the lower register. These were most frequently mounted to a wood backing but some examples were prepared in silhouette for mounting against precious stone. Due to the modern character of these examples, Avery questioned whether the entire production of Adoration reliefs was a pastiche by the late 19th and early 20th century forger, Luigi Francesco Parmeggiani.57 However, this theory was later redacted by him and others have pointed out clear early origins, for example, Lewis notes a pressed silver example at the Civic Museum of Brescia was given to the museum in 1828 by Gabriele Scovoli and another example in that same museum has on its reverse the written date of 1804. Lewis also notes an example at the Castello Sforzesco whose wooden support has the attached date of 1792.58 Finally, Attilio Troncavini, who first challenged Avery’s hypothesis, was apt to point out a tabernacle at the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Milan, featuring a pressed-silver example of the relief, dated 1808.59


1 Copies in bronze, lead, hammered silver, wood, ivory, marble, embossed leather and cartapesta have been identified as well as modern painted copies (private database of examples).

2 A majority of examples are cast in bronze, contemporaneously and over-the-centuries. Modern galvanos and electrotypes were produced and a quantity of late 18th century and early 19th century silver repoussé examples were produced mounted to wood backings or cast in silhouette for application to stone or other backgrounds.

3 Finarte auction, 4 June 1997, Lot 19.

4 Sotheby’s auction, 12 January 1991, Lot 67.

5 Sotheby’s auction, 8 December 1994, Lot 65A.

6 Museo Lázaro-Galdiano, Inv. 427; and another formerly in the Kahlil Gibran collection, dated 1587 but crudely re-engraved to feature the year 1787, discussed 26 November 1993 via correspondence with the National Gallery of Art, DC. (NGA curatorial files).

7 Galerie Georges Petit sale of the Barthélemy Rey collection, 3 June 1905, Lot 175.

8 AD&A Museum, Inv. 1964.535 (formerly with Sigmund Morgenroth collection and before him, the dealer Antonio Pini, Italy).

9 Musei Civic d’Arte Antica, Ferrara, Inv. 8755. See Charles Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company. Renaissance Bronze-founders in Verona. London, no. 44, pp. 92-93, 134-35.

10 Prospero Rizzini (1889): Illustrazione dei civici musei di Brescia: Parte 2. Apollonio, Brescia, no. 153, p. 57.

11 Andrea Moschetti (1938): Il Museo Civico di Padova: Cenni storici e illustrative. Padua, pp. 230-31.

12 See for example, Ulrich Middeldorf (1944): Medals and Plaquettes from the Sigmund Morgenroth Collection. Donnelley & Sons Co., Chicago, IL., no. 342, p. 48 and John Graham Pollard (1970): Bozagni, Gian Federico, DBI 12, pp. 480-81.

13 This idea was first posited in the sale of the Maurice Faure collection. See Leo Hamburger auction, Frankfurt, 22-23 September 1913, no. 665.

14 Francesco Rossi (1974): Placchette. Sec. XV-XIX. Neri Pozza Editore, Vicenza, Italy, nos. 218-20, pp. 130-31.

15 Anthony Geber (1989): Name Inscriptions: Solution or Problem? Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 22. Italian Plaquettes. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC., pp. 247-63.

16 C. Avery (2016): op. cit. (note 9).

17 Doug Lewis (2017), No. 492, entry for NGA Inv. 1942.9.220 (unpublished manuscript, accessed August 2017, with thanks to Anne Halpern, Department of Curatorial Records and Files): Systematic Catalogue of the Collections, Renaissance Plaquettes. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Trustees of the National Gallery of Art. For a discussion of the Lamentation pax, donated by Pope Pius IV to the Milan Cathedral, and its association with Bonzagna see Luca Beltrami (1897): L’arte negli arredi sacri della Lombardia. Milan, pp. 39-40, pl. 43.

18 Wilhelm von Bode (1897): Die Sammlung Oscar Hainauer. Berlin/London, p. 101.

19 Ernst Bange (1922): Die Bildwerke des Deutschen Museums. Die Bildwerke in Bronze und in anderen Metallen. Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin, no. 42, p. 7.

20 Max Bernhart (1926): Die Plakettensammlung Alfred Walcher Ritter von Molthein, Wien: italienische, spanische, deutsche, niederländische, französische Arbeiten des 15. – 18. Jahrh.; Versteigerung in der Galerie Hugo Helbing, München, 17-18. May 1926, no. 64, p. 8.

21 Davide Banzato, Maria Beltramini and Davide Gasparotto (2000): Placchette, bronzetti e cristalli incisi dei Musei Civici di Vicenza. Secoli XV-XVIII. Regione Siciliana, Verona. no. 87, p. 91; A. Geber (1989): op. cit. (note 15); Eugenio Imbert (1941): Le Placchette Italiane, secolo XV-XIX. Edizioni Luigi Alfieri, Milano, no. 159, p. 62.

22 Francesco Rossi posited a possible connection with Tusco-Roman Mannerism while James Draper noted the possible influence of Roman painters like Perino del Vaga and Siciolante. See respectively Francesco Rossi (1985): Rassegna della Placchetta Artistica dal XV al XVII secolo. 6° Triennale Italiana della Medaglia d’Arte 1984, Milan, no. 17, pp. 173-74 and James David Draper (private correspondence with Anthony Geber, before 1989). Rossi has more recently considered them either Parmense or Venetian. See Francesco Rossi (2011): La Collezione Mario Scaglia – Placchette, Vols. I-III. Lubrina Editore, Bergamo, nos. IX.16-17, pp. 377-81.

23 D. Lewis (2017): op. cit. (note 17).

24 C. Avery (2016): op. cit. (note 9).

25 Lewis suggests Tibaldi’s activity in Spain between 1586-96 could have resulted in the later dated casts made in Spain, bearing the alternate inscription along the frieze: GLORIA IN EXELSIS DEO. D. Lewis (2017): op. cit. (note 17).

26 Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio and Tommaso Mozzati (eds.) (2020): Artistic Circulation between Early Modern Spain and Italy. Routledge, UK.

27 Riccardo Naldi (2018): Magnificence of Marble: Bartolomé Ordóñez and Diego de Silóe. Hirmer publishers, pp. 226-77.

28 Silvio Leydi (1998): Milan and the arms industry in the sixteenth century. Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance. Filippo Negroli and his contemporaries. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, pp. 25-60.

29 Rudolph Lepke auction, Berlin, 21 March 1911, no. 332, p. 49.

30 R. Naldi (2018): op. cit. (note 27).

31 The figurative language of the stained-wood panel reliefs in the sacristy of SS. Annunziata and their manner of gilding show a corollary between the Iberian-Neapolitan themes here discussed as well as the influence of Milanese damascenders whose style of ornamentation is clearly reflected on the Annunziata reliefs. Although the history of the reliefs is complex, several of the works are thought to belong to an unidentified Iberian hand responsible for sculptures-in-the-round of Daniel, Ezekiel and Jeremiah, informed by and probably copying the works of Ordóñez. It’s a notional sculptor like this, active in the 1550s in Naples, and of Iberian origin, who may have been instrumental in the sharing of iconography that resulted in the development of the Adoration and Lamentation reliefs. Such tangential Iberian artists active in Naples whose works remain unidentified include Pietro della Plata, Luigi Muños, a master called Domenico, et al. See Letizia Gaeta (2015): Ritorno all’Annunziata e alla Napoli dei viceré. Dalla parte di Geronimo D’Auria in Intagliatori incisori scultori sodalizi e società nella Napoli dei viceré – Ritorno all’Annunziata. Universita del Salento, pp. 34-37.

32 This theory is first implied by Francesco Abbate (1986): Appunti su Bartolomé Ordóñez e Diego de Siloe a Napoli e in Spagna in Prospettiva, no. 44, pp. 27-45 and expounded upon by Letizia Gaeta (2000): Le Sculture della Sagrestia dell’Annunziata a Napoli. Nuove presenze iberiche nella prima metà del Cinquecento, Galatina and L. Gaeta (2015): op. cit. (note 31) while Giancarlo Gentilini and Francesco Caglioti posited an attribution of the Teodori chapel relief to Berruguete. See Francesco Caglioti (2001): Alonso Berruguete in Italia: un nuovo documento fiorentino, una nuova fonte donatelliana, qualche ulteriore traccia, in Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Sylvie Béguin (a cura di Mario Di Giampaolo ed Elisabetta Saccomani), Paparo Edizioni, Napoli 2001, pp. 109-46. C.D. Dickerson III speculates if Beruguette had seen Ordóñez’s accomplishments at Barcelona Cathedral where the Lamentation panel would have been known. See C.D. Dickerson (2018): Return to Spain, Pintor del Rey, and Learning to Sculpt in Alonso Berruguete – First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain. National Gallery of Art, DC., pp. 36-53.

33 One example of the feature of Christ’s face on the Lamentation relief, with his hair tucked behind his ear and shoulder and a strand falling opposite, is a motif undoubtedly circulated in Berrugeute’s workshop. See Mark McDonald (eds. C.D. Dickerson III and Mark McDonald) (2019): Becoming a Draftsman and the Primacy of Drawing in Alonso Berruguete – First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain. National Gallery of Art, DC, p. 83.

34 Giralte is designated as one of the oficiales or chief sculptors for the Toledo Cathedral choir stalls. See Wendy Sepponen (eds. C.D. Dickerson III and Mark McDonald) (2019): Transforming the Choir of Toledo Cathedral in Alonso Berruguete – First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain. National Gallery of Art, DC, p. 155.

35 National Sculpture Museum, Valladolid, Inv. CE0434. Previously located at the Convent of Trinitarias de San Bartolomé in Valladolid.

36 Jesús María Parrado del Olmo (ed., Carlos Herrero Starkie) (2019): Treasures of Spanish Renaissance Sculpture. The origin of the Spanish Manner. Institute of Old Masters Research.

37 While Giralte is not known to have worked in metal, Wendy Sepponen suggests he may have provided models, in-the-round, for the gilt bronze figures adorning the pulpits that flank the capilla mayor of the Toledo Cathedral, executed by Francisco Villapando. See W. Sepponen (2019): op. cit. (note 34).

38 M. McDonald (2019): op. cit. (note 33).

39 M. McDonald (2019): op. cit. (note 33). See also José Martí y Monsó (1898-1901): Estudios histórico-artísticos relativos principalmente a Valladolid: basados en la investigación de diversos archivos. Leonardo Miñón, Valladolid-Madrid, pp. 331-34.

40 Court documents show Giralte’s presence in Madrid in this year, contesting his properties inherited through the dowry of his wife via her first husband. See J. Martí y Monsó (1898-1901): op. cit. (note 39), p. 388.

41 Kunsthistorisches Museum, Inv. A752.

42 Silvio Leydi (2016): Mobili milanesi in acciaio e metalli preziosinell’età del Manierismo. Fatto in Italia. Dal Medioevo al Made in Italy. Silvana Editorial, Turin, pp. 121-37.

43 S. Leydi (2016): op. cit. (note 42).

44 S. Leydi (2016): op. cit. (note 42), see footnote 3.

45 The negotiations for Fava’s contracted employment with Polacini begins from 29 July 1545. See S. Leydi (2016): op. cit. (note 42), see footnote 17.

46 Silvio Leydi (2019): Due altaroli gemelli in acciaio del secondo cinquecento Milanese. Nuovi Studi, no. 24, pp. 79-91.

47 S. Leydi (2019): op. cit. (note 46), see footnote 26.

48 S. Leydi (2019): op. cit. (note 46).

49 The contract for negotiations concerning the table is dated 18 October 1559. Apparently, a sword pommel designed by Leoni was also sent for reference. See S. Leydi (2016): op. cit. (note 42), see footnote 5 and S. Leydi (2019): op. cit. (note 46), see footnote 23.

50 Battista de Angelis’ collaboration was extended for another year on 29 April 1561. See S. Leydi (2016): op. cit. (note 42), see footnote 40.

51 See our footnote 31.

52 S. Leydi (2016): op. cit. (note 42), see footnote 39 and also Silvio Leydi (1998): Giovan Battista Panzeri, detto Zarabaglia, intagliatore in ferro e soci. Nuovi Studi, no. 6, p. 39 and footnotes 53-54.

53 The contract for Appiani’s addition to Polacini’s studio is documented 30 June 1563. See S. Leydi (2016): op. cit. (note 42), see footnote 39 and also S. Leydi (1998): op. cit. (note 52).

54 Lewis first posited Borromeo as a possible patron of the reliefs, suggesting his popularity and influence may also have helped promulgate their popularity. See D. Lewis (2017): op. cit. (note 17).

55 D. Lewis (2017): op. cit. (note 17).

56 The relief panels were later polychromed in 1632 by Pedro de Landa. See Gran Enciclopedia de Navarra ( accessed, March 2020. The presence of the Adoration motif in Urroz was first observed by Priscilla Muller (1972): Spain’s Golden Age in Silver. Apollo Magazine, 95:122, April 1972, p. 271.

57 Charles Avery (1998): La Spezia. Amedeo Lia Civic Museum. Sculptures, Bronzes, Plaques, Medals. CR La Spezia Foundation, no. 210, p. 290.

58 D. Lewis (2017): op. cit. (note 17).

59 Attilio Troncavini (2010): Placchetta cinquecentesca o falso si fine ottocento? Accessed March 2020.

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