by Michael Riddick


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Plaquettes, being small relief sculptures in bronze or other metals, were collected and appreciated as independent works-of-art from the fifteenth century onward in Italy. However, these small reliefs also had additional functions including their use as models for the decorative programme of mortars, bells, and other utilitarian objects, often featured to meet the artistic taste of patrons. The De Levis dynasty of bronze founders in Verona employed a quantity of small reliefs in the decorative programs of their productions, actively expanding a repertoire of models, whether borrowed, copied or uniquely invented. Like other provincial workshops, the De Levis foundry may have been instrumental in the continued distribution of these models, either reproducing further copies in bronze or certainly through their incorporation of them in the overall design of their products.

The use of plaquettes on utilitarian objects in bronze parallels the practice of reproducing antique coinage on such objects. For example, the practice of reproducing impressions of antique coins is observed on Joseph de Levis’ last known signed work, a 1605 mortar from the Benjamin Zucker collection,1 as well as on a bell at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,2 and a bronze base for a crucifix representing the hill of Calvary.3 The feature of the coins was likely intended to suit the taste of patrons although their feature on the Crucifixion mount was apparently intended to add a Roman context to the object.

It remains conjectured how small models like coins or plaquettes were acquired by provincial workshops. Were workshops given these models by commissioning patrons or did workshops purchase rights to use these models from their inventors? Did workshops invent some of their own in-house models or were models openly shared and circulated among other provincial workshops with no regard to their original inventors? The answer is probably a combination of these various ideas and the arrival of these models in provincial workshops, apart from business within the founder’s trade, may have been due to traveling pilgrims and merchants. In Verona, for example, the tomb of Saint Peter attracted many pilgrims and merchants involved in trade provided regular channels of exchange throughout the Veneto.

Fig. 01: Detail of a bronze mortar by Joseph de Levis, 1589, with putti after plaquettes by the Meister des Nürnberger Rathausputto, flanking the armorial of Petruterpeus de Loretis, Düsseldorf Kunstmuseum

The distribution of plaquettes among Renaissance bronze foundries is still an on-going area of research. Ollivier Ramousse and Bertrand Bergbauer have analyzed the use of plaquettes, coins, medals, pilgrims’ badges, and other small motifs among the bronze founders of Lyons, Le Puy-en-Velay and outlying areas in France, observing how some motifs were regional inventions enjoying a modest circulation among local founders while others were imported from outlying territories like Germany and Italy, uniquely expanding the visual repertoire of these founders. Although Italian, the De Levis foundry may be no exception to this practice. One example is the feature of German motifs depicting two putti as the muses Euterpe and Thalia4 appearing on a signed and dated mortar by Joseph de Levis commissioned by Petruterpeus de Loretis in 1589 (fig. 1).5 The putti are attributed to the Meister des Nürnberger Rathausputto, a sculptor influenced by Peter Flötner and thought active in the workshop of Pankraz Labenwolf.6 The wide diffusion of these motifs is confirmed by their later use on mortars in France, like those possibly by Pierre Buret of the Buret dynasty of founders thought active near Paris.7

The arrival of German motifs among Italian bronze foundries may be indebted to the Wanderjahre of German foundry apprentices who traveled to Italy to gain knowledge and experience in their trade8 or due to travelling foundrymen specializing in the restoration of canons and bells, yet also producing mortars for additional income in foreign lands.9 For example, Flötner’s German reliefs of Faith and Justice appear on a bronze ciborium of 1578 at the church of San Maurizio in the commune of Ponte in Valtellina, just north of Verona.10 The use of antimony in Venetian bronzes, incorporated to enhance the resonance of bells, also tied the Veneto to Germany where antimony was exported to Venetian founders.11

Fig. 02: Moderno, Dead Christ Supported by Mary and John, ca. 1500, bronze plaquette, National Gallery of Art

The De Levis’ practice of incorporating plaquettes on utilitarian objects is evident on their second-earliest known production: a church bell of 1572 cast by Santo de Levis for the church of San Giuseppe in Bovolone. A description cites its free copy or exact reproduction of a Pietá by Galeazzo Mondella (called Moderno). Although Moderno made several Pietá compositions the bell reproduces his most successful and widely diffused composition featuring the Dead Christ supported by Mary and John (fig. 2).12 The success of Moderno’s composition and his activity in the Veneto, as well as his terms as president of the goldsmiths guild in Verona around 1500, is sufficient context for Servo’s access to Moderno’s composition.

An example of borrowing other regional motifs is found in Joseph’s earliest known autograph work, a church bell of 1576 kept in the old library at the convent of San Bernardino in Trento.13 The bell is orbited by five wreaths with various sacred motifs featured therein along with a medallic bust of Christ raised on a circular flange whose original design is of Italian origin (fig. 3, left).14 The medal’s feature on Joseph’s bell provides a new terminus ante quem for the medal, as a previous example of the medal from the Maurice Rosenheim collection, dated 1583, provided its former earliest dating. The weak impression of the medal on Joseph’s bell faintly reproduces its beaded border along with its original inscription: EGO SVM VIA VERITAS ET VITA (fig. 3, right).

Fig. 03: Bust of Christ, detail of a bronze bell by Joseph de Levis, 1576, convent of San Bernardino in Trento (left); Bust of Christ, anonymous, b. 1576, bronze medal, British Museum (right)

Diverging from the pirating of other artist’s works, one model used in the foundry instead imitates a well-diffused Italian plaquette of the Virgin and Child (fig. 4, left), as observed by Charles Avery.15 The relief appears on an autograph church bell of 1624 by Paolo and Francesco de Levis for the Franciscan community of friars in the convent beside the church of Madonna del Monte in Verona (fig. 4, right).16 The motif also appears on a 1609 bell for the Veronese Borgnolico family, attributed to Joseph’s workshop and conceivably also the product of Paolo and Francesco.17

Fig. 04: Virgin and Child, Circle of Donatello, possibly Giovanni da Pisa (?), ca. 1440, bronze plaquette, Bode Museum (left); Virgin and Child, detail of a bronze bell, Paolo and Francesco de Levis, 1624, convent beside the church of Madonna del Monte in Verona (right)

The plaquette of the Virgin and Child, from which Paolo and Francesco’s model derives, is largely accepted as a work from the school of Donatello or after a lost composition by the master made in Florence or Padua during the second quarter of the 15th century.18 Alternatively, the relief has also been associated with Giovanni da Pisa, as first suggested by Wilhelm von Bode.19 The plaquette enjoyed a reasonable circulation with Francesco Rossi citing more than fifty examples of the plaquette in various versions.20 An applique variant of the plaquette suggests their use for setting into paxes and could also have been used as a model for bell and mortar founders. For example, Jeremy Warren notes a 1590 bell from the Veronese workshop of Giulio and Ludovico Bonaventurini which reproduces the motif.21 If Paolo and Francesco did not reference the plaquette as the source for their free version of the composition they may have alternatively borrowed it from a 1511 relief on the façade of the Ospedale dei Pover Sarti in Venice, which Leo Planiscig observed as inspired by the plaquette composition.22

A similar motif of the Virgin and Child on Servo de Levis’ 1616 bell at the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona23 may also relate to other of Pisa’s compositions like the Madonna and Child between two Candelabra attributed to him in Liechtenstein, Berlin, and elsewhere.24

As concerns plaquettes as independent reliefs, Joseph de Levis directly reproduced larger-scale reliefs in bronze. A notable example is a Lamentation relief cast by Joseph or his brother, Santo, in 1577 (fig. 5, left).25 The relief is frequently, although unconvincingly, attributed to Giovan Federico Bonzagna. The Lamentation and its better-known cognate Nativity are more likely the invention of a sculptor active between Italy and Spain, possibly one of the unidentified Italian or Iberian sculptors active under the influence of Giovanni da Nola responsible for the interior wood relief panels of the Sacristy of Santissima Annunziata Maggiore in Naples.26

Fig. 05: Lamentation, circle of Giovanni da Nola, cast by Servo or Joseph de Levis, 1577, bronze plaque, Civic Museum of Ferrara (left); Deposition, attributed to Alessandro Vittoria, cast by Joseph de Levis, late 16th century, bronze plaque, Berlin Museums (right)

A large Deposition relief is also reproduced by Joseph (fig. 5, right). The relief is commonly attributed to Guglielmo della Porta, compared with his designs from the Düsseldorf sketchbook. However, Avery has more recently, and in the present author’s opinion, more convincingly ascribed the relief to Alessandro Vittoria.27

The quality of these two large-scale reliefs suggest they are aftercasts using finer originals as their models. Both reliefs are known with some proliferation and other period examples of the reliefs were reproduced in bronze, cartapesta, and stucco, attesting to their wide diffusion and reproduction by various workshops.

While the forefathers of the De Levis foundry, Santo and his brother Joseph, appear to have freely copied extant reliefs, large-and-small, or depended upon local sculptors like Angelo de Rossi,28 their children appear to have shown a higher propensity toward inventing their own compositions. In particular, Santo’s son, Ottavio, may have had sculptural talent and an ability to cast his own original inventions, as Avery hypothesizes.29

Ottavio’s signed plaque of a half-length Virgin and standing Child 30 is autographed along its base and features the armorial of its patron (fig. 6, left). Avery commented on its apparent influence from the Venetian school of Jacopo Sansovino while a silhouetted example in Berlin31 was earlier judged the same by Bode32 and Ernst Bange (fig. 6, right).33 The silhouetted example in Berlin may preserve the vestige of a workshop model. Although it lacks the left side of the pillow supporting the child Christ’s foot and is missing some of the weighted draperies along its left margin, it is evident Ottavio originally employed a similar silhouetted model which he pressed into a plain ground to conceive his autographed plaque. The bordered frame of Ottavio’s plaque appears piecemealed from a stamped mold used to create its border, much in the same way decorative treatments were applied to models for casting mortars. That Ottavio proudly signed the recto of this plaque is more suggestive of an original invention than a founder’s mark and therefore may indeed be the unique invention of the founder.

Fig. 06: Virgin and Standing Child, Ottavio de Levis, ca. 1600, bronze plaque, private collection, formerly with Daniel Katz (left); Virgin and Standing Child applique, ca. 1600, Berlin Museums (right)

Another plaque depicting the Virgin and Child, which Avery ascribes to Ottavio, is known by a single cast at the Louvre (fig. 7).34 It falls into a provincial Venetian ambit as first noted by Bertrand Jestaz.35 Avery calls attention to the central figure group whose manner and silhouette-like ovoid form comparably relates to Ottavio’s signed plaque of the same subject.36

In addition to Sansovino’s influence upon the two aforenoted reliefs, there remains also the contemporaneous influence of Sansovino’s successor: Niccolo Roccatagliata. In some instances, the work of this sculptor and the productions of the De Levis family have been mixed throughout scholarship.37

Fig. 7: Virgin and Child, attributed to Ottavio de Levis, ca. 1600, bronze plaque, Louvre

While there is evidence for the De Levis family reproduction of larger-scale reliefs in bronze, no firm evidence is available for their facture of small-scale reliefs. However, a prime candidate for this idea is found in Avery’s attention to a Trinity motif38 appearing on Paolo and Francesco’s 1617 bell at the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona39 featuring the Trinity (fig. 8, left) along with reliefs of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception,40 St. Lucy,41 and the signature of the brothers (fig. 9, right), each set within the same stylized frame that appears earlier on their father’s pair of bronze Firedogs at the Victoria and Albert Museum,42 and on a mortar by him dated 1600 in the Vok collection. Joseph’s use of this stylized frame does not incorporate figural motifs but instead features his own signature: IOSEPHO DI LEVI IN VERONA MI FECE (fig. 9, left).

Fig. 8: Detail of a bronze bell with the Trinity, Paolo and Francesco de Levis, 1617, Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona (left); Trinity, attributed to Paolo and Francesco de Levis, bronze plaquette, private collection, formerly with Georg Heinrici (right)
Fig. 9: Detail of a bronze mortar with the signature of Joseph de Levis, 1600, Vok collection in Padua (left); detail of a bronze bell with the signature of Paolo and Francesco de Levis, 1617, Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona (right)

The use of this frame may have been employed as a superficial family hallmark, rather than simply a workshop model, thereby encouraging its use by Joseph’s sons. The finest casts of the Trinity plaquette show on their reverse how the central relief was fused with a pre-existing model for the frame. Avery describes the style of this frame as typical of the Veneto and that its features correspond with characteristics of the Hanukkah lamp appliques associated with the De Levis foundry.43 He suggests the central figure(s) featured in these framed reliefs may either be the work of Joseph’s collaborator Angelo de Rossi, or more conceivably the workmanship of Joseph’s sons: Paolo and Francesco.

The Trinity motif, set within its stylized frame, is known by a large quantity of surviving examples as independent plaquettes. In spite of its popularity, the relief has evaded an understanding of its function. It has been regarded as a possible applique intended for book bindings although no examples have been discovered used in this way. The relief has generally been considered North Italian although associations with the Veneto have been forwarded with Rossi suggesting its invention being due to a sculptor active in the circle of Girolamo Campagna.44

As Avery suggests, the most likely function for the Trinity plaquette was its use as a model for bells and mortars. It appears on at least one unpublished 17th century French bronze mortar (Bergbauer, email message to author, May 2014), but its earliest and most frequent use among the De Levis family suggests a logical origin in their foundry. It is reasonable to suggest the widespread diffusion of the plaquette may also be due to reproductions of it made within the foundry, particularly if considering the frame inherently linked the composition and plaquette back to the De Levis by way of its “signature” border, serving as a type of brand.45

The wide diffusion of the Trinity plaquette entailed later variations like silhouetted examples and a Baroque period edition lacking the border but adding prostrate saints beneath God the Father.46 Also cited in previous literature is an example formerly with the Georg Heinrici collection, featuring a chased legend: CONFRATERNITAS SANTAE TRINITATIS (fig. 8, right),47 which prompted Jestaz to tentatively link the plaquette to a confraternity of the Trinity once active in a church and convent in Venice, destroyed in 1631, in order to erect the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.48 Noteworthy is Paolo de Levis’ earliest autograph work, the bell he made for this same fraternity’s chapel in Verona in 1611,49 possibly providing the link between the commissioned origin of the Trinity plaquette and its suggested invention by Paolo and Francesco.

Until Avery, the presence of the relief on bells was not mentioned in any former plaquette literature. Also undiscussed is its appearance on other later objects like an 18th century pewter water fount in a French private collection (Bergbauer, email message to author, July 2015), a version in which the Trinity motif is cast integrally on paxes50 and one occasion in which a silver aftercast is truncated and featured along the base of a late 17th century Italian altar cross.51 There is a further later variant of the relief in which a triangular nimbus, added to God the Father, interrupts the decorative border treatment above His head.52

Much less frequent than the Trinity motif and uncited by Avery are depictions of other motifs featured within the Trinity plaquette’s stylized border, to include a scene of Angels Presenting the Host, known by a singular cast at the Chateau d’Ecouen,53 an unpublished Standing Virgin and Child in the collection of Sandro Ubertazzi,54 and a Man of Sorrows at the Ashmolean.55 Of this latter relief, a more common plaquette of the Man of Sorrows or Imago Pietatis, made ca. 1500, may have been the source of inspiration for its design.56

Fig. 10: Imago Pietatis, attributed to Ottavio de Levis and/or his brothers, ca. 1600, after an anonymous ca. 1500 plaquette, bronze pax, Museo Civico Amedeo Lia

Of note is a variant of this Imago Pietatis plaquette formed as a pax and surmounted by a central mask devoured by flanking grotesques which Avery suggests may have been an updated edition of the plaquette made by a member of the De Levis family (fig. 10). He compares the grotesques and central mask with the bronze door-knocker made by Servo, and his brothers Giovan Battista and Ottavio for the Compagnoni family of Mantua.57 Although Avery superficially notes two examples of this pax with provenances originating close to Verona, his observation may have merit as there is a higher instance of examples of the Imago Pietatis plaquette appearing among the artifacts of churches just South of Verona in Ferrara, Faenza, and nearby towns. This corresponds with Jestaz’s suggestion that the prototype for this pax descends from a painting kept in Faenza58 and Rossi’s assessment that the pax variants of the Imago Pietatis plaquette developed primarily in the Veneto.59

If Avery’s observation is accurate, that the De Levis’ were responsible for this version of the Imago Pietatis pax, then it would be a rare instance in which we may link the history of a plaquette’s subsequent embellishment by a provincial foundry over-time.60


Endnotes

1 Charles Avery, Joseph de Levis & Company. Renaissance Bronze-founders in Verona (London, UK: Philip Wilson, 2016), no. 82, p. 152.

2 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 81, p. 152.

3 MET Inv. 1981.76b; see also Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 43, pp. 133-134.

4 Ingrid Weber, Deutsche, Niederlandische und Franzosische Renaissanceplaketten, 1500-1650 (Munchen, Germany: Bruckmann, 1975), nos. 71.2 and 71.8.

5 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 25, p. 58.

6 The Meister des Nürnberger Rathausputto is an unidentified sculptor named such for his figures which crown the columns of the fountain in the Nuremberg Town Hall courtyard, cast in 1557 by Pankraz Labenwolf. See Andrea Norris and Ingrid Weber, Medals and Plaquettes from the Molinari Collection at Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College, 1976), p. 107.

7 Pierre Buret, who became a master in 1680, is thought to be the probable inventor of a series of mortars making use of these reliefs. These mortars are located at the Fontenay-le-Comte at Newfoundland castle, the Dobrée Museum in Nantes (Inv. 903.142) and one in the Lafond collection in Paris. See Bertrand Bergbauer, Les Mortiers Francais en Bronze du XVI au XVIII siécle: production, iconographie et diffusion. Tomes I-III (PhD diss., Université de Picardie Jules Verne, 2012), Tome II, nos. A1909-1910, pp. 672-677, 698-699.

8 Compare, for example, Pankraz Labenwolf who is thought to have sojourned to Italy or Peter and Hermann Vischer of the Vischer dynasty of founders who are confirmed or thought to have traveled to Italy for their Wanderjahre. See Georg Seeger, Peter Vischer der jüngere: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Erzgiesserfamilie Vischer (Leipzig, Germany: E.A. Seemann, 1897), pp. 6-13, 142; Johann Neudörfer (1547): Nachrichten von den vornehmsten Künstlern und Werkleuten so innerhalb hundert Jahren in Nürnberg gelebt haben 1546 nebst der Fortsetzung von Andreas Gulden 1660. Abgedruckt nach einer alten Handschrift in der Campeschen Sammlung (Ed. G.W.K. Lochner, Wien, Austria, 1875), p. 21; or Michael Riddick, “The Earliest German Medal? Peter Vischer der Ältere’s Memorial Medaille to his first wife Margaretha,” (accessed October 2020). Renbronze.com.

9 Klaus Bergdolt, Highly Important Mortars from the Schwarzach Collection, auction cat. (Cologne, Germany: Lempertz 17 May 2019), pp. 94-95.

10 Susanna Zanuso, “Medaglie e placchette nel ciborio della chiesa di San Maurizio a Ponte in Valtellina” in L’utilizzo dei modelli seriali nella produzione figurative lombarda nell’età di Mantegna. Atti del convegno di studi Milano, Castello Sforzesco, Raccolta delle Stampe, 10-11 Giugno 2008, eds. Marco Collareta and Francesca Tasso (Milan, Italy: Castello Sforzesco, 2012), pp. 197-270.

11 Peta Motture, The Culture of Bronze. Making and Meaning in Italian Renaissance Sculpture (London, UK: Victoria & Albert Museum, 2019), p. 24.

12 In addition to more than 300 examples of the relief in bronze and other metals, including interpretive free copies, additional examples are known by free copies in maiolica (Hampel, auction cat. [Munich, Germany, 17 May 2003] no. 147), terracotta (Cambiaste, auction cat. [Milan, Italy, 18 November 2015], no. 70), and precious stone (Hermitage Museum, Inv. K-684).

13 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 4A, pp. 112-113.

14 Chiara Moser has commented on the feature of these sacred images, inclusive of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Hubert and a Virgin and Child which appear on other later bells and mortars. See Chiara Moser, Giuseppe Levi e l’arte del bronzo a Verona nel secondo Cinquecento (PhD diss., Universitá degli studi di Trento, Facoltá di Lettere e Filosofia, Corso di Laurea Magistrale in Conservazione e Gestione dei Beni Culturali, 2010). The effigy of Christ, unattributed but of probable Lombard origin, is most recently discussed by Philip Attwood. See Philip Attwood, Italian Medals c.1530-1600 (London, UK: British Museum Press, 2002), no. 196. The medal’s Italian origins are outlined by George Francis Hill. See G. F. Hill, The medallic portraits of Christ, The false shekels, The thirty pieces of silver (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1920), pp. 65-66.

15 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, p. 55.

16 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 65, p. 143.

17 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 70, p. 146. The unsigned 1609 bell for the Borgnolico family may be conceivably ascribed to Paolo and Francesco de Levis. The earliest signed work of Paolo de Levis, now lost, was dated 1611, made for the Confraternitá della SS. Trinitá at the chapel of San Biagio in Verona. Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, nos. 56-57, p. 140.

18 While the Virgin and Child plaquette is more frequently considered mid-15th century in origin, Bertrand Bergbauer has noted two maiolica works made in Gubbio, ca. 1430-1440, which reproduce the plaquette’s motif, suggesting a date-of-origin during the second quarter of the fifteenth century. See Bertrand Bergbauer, Images en relief: la collection de plaquettes du Musée national de la Renaissance (Paris, France: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2009), pp. 13-14. For the maiolica examples see Louvre Inv. OA 1474 and Sothebys, auction cat. (London, UK, 6 December 2011), no. 1.

19 Wilhelm von Bode, Beschreibung der Bildwerke der Christlichen Epochen: Die Italienischen Bronzen (Berlin, Germany: Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, 1904), vol. II, p. 55, no. 671. A loose association of this plaquette with Giovanni da Pisa has persisted in recent years by way of Francesco Rossi who notes its subtle references to his manner. See Francesco Rossi, Placchette e rilievi di bronzo nell’età del Mantegna, Mantova e Milano (Milan, Italy: Skira, 2006), pp. 38-39, no. 1. Bode initially ascribed the plaquette to Bartolomeo Bellano. See Wilhelm von Bode, “Lo Scultore Bartolomeo Bellano da Padova,” Archivio storico dell’ Arte IV (1891), pp. 397-416. For further discussion on Bode’s possible impetus for the relief’s association with Giovanni da Pisa see Michael Riddick “Donatello, the birth of Renaissance Plaquettes and their representation in the Bode Museum” (unpublished manuscript, Predella Journal of Visual Arts, 2021).

20 Francesco Rossi, La Collezione Mario Scaglia – Placchette, Vols. I-III. (Bergamo, Italy: Lubrina Editore, 2011), no. II.1, pp. 75-77.

21 The bell was made for San Rocco in Quinzano and is currently kept at the Museo del Castelvecchio in Verona. Jeremy Warren, Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Vol. 3: Plaquettes (London, UK: Ashmolean Museum Publications, 2014), nos. 270-71, pp. 808-10.

22 Leo Planiscig, Die Estensische Kunstsammlung: Katalog, mit den Abbildungen sämtlicher Stücke (Wien, Austria: Anton Schroll & Co., 1919), no. 339, p. 174.

23 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 50, p. 137.

24 Inv. SK 133. See Francesco Caglioti, Andrea Mantegna, exh.cat. (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 26 September 2008-5 January 2009), pp. 88-91. See also Berlin Inv. 2949 and Neville Rowley, “Madonna in der Nische / Virgin and Child Relief und Rahmen” accessed October 2020. SMB-digital.de.

25 A casting flaw on the reverse of this plaque features the signature wreath and date of the De Levis foundry but the signature is unfortunately illegible. On account of its 1577 date, Avery notes it is either the earliest dated work of Joseph or the third known work by his brother, Santo. See Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 44, p. 134.

26 Michael Riddick, “An Adoration and Lamentation of Iberian-Italian origin,” accessed October 2020. Renbronze.com.

27 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 45, p. 135.

28 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, pp. 84-88.

29 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, pp. 11, 98-99.

30 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 50, p. 137.

31 Berlin Inv. 291.

32 Bode (1904): Die Italienischen Bronzen, no. 440, p. 29, plate XXXIII.

33 Ernst Bange, Die Italienischen Bronzen der Renaissance und des Barock, Zweiter Teil: Reliefs und Plaketten (Berlin and Leipzig, Germany: Walter de Gruyter, 1922), no. 31, p. 6.

34 Louvre Inv. OA 10418.

35 Bertrand Jestaz, De Nouveaux Bronzes Italiens in La Revue Du Louvre et des Musées de France (Paris, France, 1974), no. 2, pp. 91-93.

36 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 110, pp. 171-172.

37 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, pp. 31, 82.

38 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 62, pp. 142-143.

39 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 61, p. 142.

40 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 63, p. 143.

41 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 64, p. 143.

42 Victoria and Albert Museum, Invs. 3011:0 to 8-1857 and 3012:1 to 9-1857.

43 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, nos. 111-116, pp. 172-175.

44 Francesco Rossi, Placchette. Sec. XV-XIX (Vicenza, Italy: Neri Pozza Editore, 1974), no. 161, pp. 107-108.

45 Future XRF analysis of the finest casts of these plaquettes could add credence or refute to this idea if compared against data gathered from Joseph’s pair of Firedogs at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

46 It was once thought this unique variant with added saints was known by a single cast in the Heinz Schneider collection (published in William Wixom, Renaissance bronzes from Ohio collections [Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1975] but other examples have been found like one in the collection of Sandro Ubertazzi (Ubertazzi, email message to author, February 2017) and another integrated on a late pax at an unidentified church in the Dioecese of Vigevano. An alternate version with saints is also found in the Civic Museum of Belluno (Jestaz [1997], see footnote 49).

47 Adolph E. Cahn auction cat., (Frankfurt am Main, 7-8 December 1920): Sammlung Geh. Rat Prof. Dr. Heinrici, Leipzig. Medaillen u. Plaketten der Renaissance, no. 132, p. 19. See also Hampel, auction cat. (Munich, Germany, 15 September 2011), no. 606.

48 Bertrand Jestaz, Catalog del Museo Civico di Belluno: Le Placchette e I Piccoli Bronzi. (Belluno, Italy: Neri Pozza, 1997), no. 65, p. 83.

49 See footnote 17.

50 One example of this pax, featuring a 17th century style frame, was in the Carnevali collection in Brescia (Carnevali, email message to author, September 2015) and another formerly with the present author (Christie’s, auction cat. [Amsterdam, 30 July 1997]).

51 Hampel, auction cat. (Munich, Germany, 30 March 2017), no. 135.

52 Formerly in the Edward Lubin collection (published in Wixom [1975]: Renaissance bronzes from Ohio collections), and now in the collection of Carol Shaw. This same version is the type that appears also on the 18th century pewter water fount (Bergbauer, email message to author, July 2015).

53 Bergbauer (2006): Images en relief, no. 106, p. 110. Chateau d’Ecouen Inv. E Cl. 20053.

54 Sandro Ubertazzi’s no. 168 (email message to author, February 2017). This plaquette is possibly a plaquette made by a later regional foundry borrowing the De Levis style frame.

55 Warren (2014): Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Vol. 3: Plaquettes, no. 411, pp. 945-56.

56 The motif is also freely copied by Servo de Levis on a bell of 1587. See Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 7, p. 114.

57 Avery (2016): Joseph de Levis & Company, no. 49, pp. 136-137.

58 Jestaz (1997): Le Placchette e I Piccoli Bronzi. Belluno, no. 64, p. 82.

59 Rossi (2011): Placchette, Vols. I-III, nos. III.9-10, pp. 112-15.

60 It is recognized that provincial foundries often reproduced and embellished earlier plaquettes, although these modifications are rarely traced to exact foundries responsible for the continued diffusion of specific models.

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