Metalwork in the ambit of Raphael

Toward an opus of Antonio di Paolo Fabbri, called Antonio da San Marino and a Lamentation by Cesarino di Francesco del Roscetto, called Cesarino da Perugia

by Michael Riddick

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Although described by Benvenuto Cellini as ‘chief among the Roman goldsmiths,’1 little is known or identified of the work accomplished by Antonio di Paolo Fabbri, called Antonio da San Marino. However, documents cite his production of objects characteristic of the goldsmith’s trade, inclusive of altar cruets, paxes and tableware.2

Antonio was likely trained under Andrea Bregno, the Roman goldsmith of Pope Sixtus IV, and in 1492 he established his own workshop on Borgo Vecchio in Rome.3 Antonio’s success entailed his acceptance as one of the court goldsmiths to Pope Alexander VI4 and toward the end of the 15th century Antonio was active at the court of Guidobaldo da Montefeltro in Urbino. In 1508 he returned to Rome as one of four consuls elected to establish the Università degli Orefici.5 In 1509 he opened a new workshop along Strada dei Banchi, adjacent to a business property owned by the Sienese banker Agostino Chigi,6 with whom he shared a rapport as evinced by Chigi’s requests for Antonio’s involvement in the decorative program for his chapel at Santa Maria della Pace and Chigi’s witness to Antonio’s marriage to Faustina di Giovanni Federici in 1512.7

Fig. 01: Federico del Roscetto, Cesarino del Roscetto and Bino di Pietro, Reliquary of the Sacred Ring, ca. 1511, Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Perugia, Italy

Cesarino di Francesco del Roscetto, called Cesarino da Perugia, was trained under his father, the Perugian goldsmith, Francesco di Valleriano Roscetto.8 Cesarino was also trained in draughtsmanship under the auspices of Pietro Perugino in Perugia.9 Although lauded as the “Umbrian Cellini,”10 Cesarino’s documented and surviving works are few. His most celebrated accomplishment is his contribution to the production of the Reliquary of the Sacred Ring in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Perugia, located in the chapel of San Giuseppe (Fig. 01). The reliquary, displaying a chalcedony ring thought to be the Virgin Mary’s nuptial ring, was completed in collaboration with his brother, Federico, and the goldsmith Bino di Pietro.11

Both Antonio and Cesarino were mutual collaborators and friends with Raphael Sanzio.12 One of the two goldsmiths were likely responsible for a pair of prized basins made in Rome after all‘antica designs by Raphael, as discussed in a series of letters of 1516 in which Isabella d’Este prevented them from destruction when the defeated Duke of Urbino, Francesco Maria della Rovere, was required to melt down his silver.13 Of particular interest is a drawing, ca. 1503, featuring Raphael’s design for a sword hilt, involving the category of low-relief metalwork that concerns the subject of this article (Fig. 02).14

Fig. 02: Raffaello Sanzio, studies for metalwork, ca. 1503 (left; Uffizi, Florence); Mondella Galeazzo (Moderno), bronze sword-hilt depicting the Continence of Scipio, ca. 1500-10 (right; Museo Nazionale del Bargello)

Cesarino’s friendship with Raphael is presumed initiated while both were pupils in Perugino’s workshop15 and their goodwill is attested in a 1508 letter from Raphael to the Perugian painter Domenico Alfani16 and in a testimony by Cesarino on behalf of Raphael in 1509.17 Raphael’s designs for a salver depicting all’antica tritons may have been intended to be executed by Cesarino.18 A relief featuring tritons and masks made by Cesarino as part of the decorative program for the Tabernacle of the True Cross in the church of San Francesco in Cortona, could borrow from Raphael’s ideas of this type (Fig. 03).19

Fig. 03: Cesarino da Perugia, detail of a silver relief for the Tabernacle of the True Cross, ca. 1507-24 (above; Church of San Francesco in Cortona, Italy); Raffaello Sanzio, detail of a design for a salver, ca. 1510 (below; The Royal Collection Trust, UK)

Antonio’s friendship with Raphael is believed to have begun while both were active in the court of Guidobaldo da Montefeltro in Urbino. Antonio later named one of his sons after Raphael and Antonio’s receipt of half Raphael’s via Giulia estate upon his death in 1520 is proof of their amity.
Both goldsmiths are established in Rome in 1508-09. As noted, Antonio returned to Rome in 1508 and the following year established a new workshop on Strada dei Banchi while Cesarino established his workshop also in the Ponte district of Rome in 1508.20 The two goldsmiths are soon allied by Chigi for his ambitious chapel projects at Santa Maria della Pace.21

In 1510 Chigi paid Cesarino for two bronze tondi to be executed after floral motifs designed by Raphael.22 However, the decorative program for Chigi’s chapel was subsequently updated to a theme centered on Christ’s Resurrection and new designs for the tondi were to be supplied again by Raphael.23 This modification is reflected in another contract a year later in which Antonio serves as guarantor for the payment of the two bronze tondi to be produced by Cesarino.24 However, Cesarino is called back to Perugia in 1511 to complete work on the Reliquary of the Sacred Ring and presumably remains chiefly in Perugia, later awarded a position as head of the Perugian mint in 1514.25 As a result, Antonio allegedly inherited Cesarino’s commission for the tondi.26 The succeeding deaths of Chigi and Raphael in 1520 left the tondi possibly modeled and cast but apparently uninstalled prior to Antonio’s own death in 1522 and the tondi would later become the property of the Chiaravalle Abbey in Milan, installed in 1571 as part of the decoration for their choir screen (Fig. 04).27

Fig. 04: Antonio da San Marino, bronze tondi depicting Christ in Limbo (above) and the Incredulity of Saint Thomas (below), ca. 1511-22 (Chiaravalle Abbey, Milan)

The tondi were originally intended for display in the flanking niches of the Chigi chapel altar. The tondo depicting Christ in Limbo was planned to correspond with a fresco of Daniel and David on the right, while the tondo on the left, depicting the Incredulity of Saint Thomas, was intended to relate to a corresponding fresco of Habakkuk and Jonah.28

Fig. 05: Gilt bronze plaquette of the Risen Christ Appearing to the Ten Apostles, here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-22 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Ulrich Middeldorf was first to attribute a plaquette relief of the Lamentation (Fig. 17), to be discussed, to the author of the Chigi tondi, whose identity at-that-time was transient.29 Francesco Rossi provisionally attributed a plaquette of the Risen Christ Appearing to the Ten Apostles (cover, Fig. 05) to Antonio on account of its stylistic consonance with the tondi. In particular, the relationship between the Incredulity of Saint Thomas tondo and Risen Christ plaquette are evident by their shared centralized and receding architectural motifs which may theoretically originate in Antonio’s preoccupation with architecture while contributing to the Chigi chapel projects.30 The kneeling configuration of the disciples, flanking Christ in both reliefs, are similarly postured while reserving the characters to predominantly profiled perspectives with a minority of actors observed in a three-quarters stance. Most congruent are the thick, heavy draperies that give the reliefs their visual strength. Their wide lunges are tempered by the occasion of thick folds that give the compositions a vitality juxtaposed against the less complicated perspectival treatment of the actors. Although the scale of the two reliefs is significantly different (87 cm diameter versus 9.7 cm height), their idiosyncratic manner is evident in the naïve articulation of the hands, individually rendered tufts-of-hair and the inert faces characterized by reasonably varied—but similarly modeled—facial structures. The physiognomy of Christ’s upper body and face are likewise analogous (Fig. 06).

Fig. 06: Details of a Risen Christ plaquette, here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-22 (above-left and right, below-left; Metropolitan Museum of Art); details of a bronze tondo of Christ in Limbo, ca. 1511-22 (above-center, below-right; Chiaravalle Abbey, Milan)

The Risen Christ plaquette was first given a Venetian designation by Èmile Molinier,31 followed also by Wilhelm von Bode,32 Ernst Bange33 and Seymour de Ricci.34 Middeldorf’s Milanese designation was followed by John Pope-Hennessy who also commented on its stylistic resemblance to the painted work of Bartolomeo Suardi (called Bramantino).35 Doug Lewis, on account of its relationship with the Lamentation plaquette (Fig. 17), to be discussed, attributed the plaquette to Gian Giacomo Caraglio.36

More recently, Francesco Rossi has commented on the relief’s misguided association with the Mantegna school37 to which it has been superficially compared against Andrea Mantegna’s engraving of The Risen Christ between St. Andrew and St. Longinus, printed around 1472.38
An association of the relief with Raphael’s circle is confidently evinced instead by Rossi’s observation that the Risen Christ relates to Raphael’s preparations for the fresco cycle of apostles and saints commissioned by Pope Leo X for the Sala dei Palafrenieri at the Vatican in 1517-18.39 An engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi preserves its design (Fig. 07) while the feature of Christ’s exposed upper body on the plaquette suggests a possible proximity with Raphael’s preparatory works for the project.

Fig. 07: Marcantonio Raimondi (after Raphael), engraved
print of the Risen Christ, after Raphael, ca. 1517-20
(National Gallery in Prague)

That Antonio may have depended upon a design by Raphael for his proposed invention of the Risen Christ plaquette is reasonable beyond consideration of their friendship. In 1519, Fulvio Crisolino requested Raphael to design a frame for a pax, commissioned by Pietro Bembo, to be executed by Antonio.40

The Risen Christ plaquette was observably conceived for insertion into paxes, adjudged by the recessed outer flange appearing on the finest examples of the plaquette.41 Two rare and distinct pax frames featuring the Risen Christ plaquette may echo such a concept. Foremost is a frame featuring a stylistically related lunette relief of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre forming its arched pediment (Figs. 08, 15).42 43 The gesture of the relief’s seated angel recalls the figure of Christ on the bronze relief panel of Christ and the Woman of Samaria located along the base of Chigi’s tomb at the Chigi Chapel, suggesting a possible proximity with the artistic climate surrounding the Chigi chapel’s decorative program. The base of the pax is flanked by Raphael-like cherubim supporting lateral garlands while the top is surmounted by an acanthus finial.44

Fig. 08: Gilt bronze pax with a plaquette of the Risen Christ, mid-16th century, perhaps Rome or Venice, school of Antonio da San Marino (?) (private collection, Italy)

A similarly conceived frame, known by a single example accompanying the Risen Christ plaquette, also features flanking cherubim along its base with additional cherubim seated along its triangular pediment (Fig. 09, left). The frame is similarly adorned with festoons and garlands and displays an integral elevated inscription: PAX VOBIS, along its upper frieze. The plinths are engraved with decorative trophies while the frieze along the base features an integrally cast crest flanked by cherubs which support the engraved armorial of its unidentified patron. The reverse of the pax is elaborately engraved, featuring the date: 1557.45

Fig. 09: Gilt bronze pax with a plaquette of the Risen Christ, 1557, perhaps Rome or Venice, school of Antonio da San Marino (?) (left; private collection, USA); gilt bronze pax with a plaquette of the Trinity, mid-16th century, perhaps Rome or Venice, school of Antonio da San Marino (?), (right; private collection)

Only one other instance of this frame, save for an example in the Louvre featuring an unrelated late 15th century Pietà relief,46 is identified featuring a unique plaquette of the Trinity, undiscussed in literature (Fig. 09, right). The stylistic manner of the relief may possibly link it with the same hand responsible for the Risen Christ plaquette and Chigi tondi unless the work of an assistant or later follower. The similar modeling of God-the-Father’s face and congruently rendered nimbus on the Trinity plaquette is stylistically relatable to Christ’s on the Risen Christ plaquette while the wide-and-exaggerated thickness of drapery on God-the-Father seated echoes the similarly overstated draperies of the actors depicted on the Incredulity of Saint Thomas tondo.

Although the manner of these pax frames is suggestive of a later facture during the mid-16th century, established by the engraved date, 1557, on the reverse of the example already noted,47 their figurative language may yet suggest the influence of Raphael and Antonio’s possible collaborations on earlier works-of-this-kind.48

A cognate motif of the Trinity, although much reduced in-scale, is repeated on the upper register of seals made for Cardinal Andrea della Valle and Cardinal Innocenzo Cibo, both which share an equally homogenous ethos comparable with the Risen Christ, Trinity and Holy Women at the Sepulchre plaquettes (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10: Plaquette cast of a seal for Cardinal Innocenzo Cibo, ca. 1517-18, here attributed to Antonio da San Marino (left; Louvre); bronze cast seal for Cardinal Andrea della Vale, 1525, after a model here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-20 (right; Ashmolean Museum)

The dense grouping of figures found on della Valle’s seal portray an arrangement of standing and kneeling figures facing inward toward a central event like that observed on the Risen Christ plaquette and Chigi tondi. Likewise, the receding architectural motif in the seal’s background49 and the actors’ thick, lunging draperies and similar perspectival treatment is congruent with the reliefs already discussed. The stippled ground of the seal’s scene is also superficially analogous with the engraver’s technique used to articulate ground on the Risen Christ plaquette. Further, the modeling of Christ’s upper body compares with the figure of Saint Sebastian on della Valle’s seal, possibly inspired by Cima da Conegliano’s altarpiece for the Santa Maria della Carità in Venice whose depiction of St. Sebastian on his Madonna and Child with Saints, ca. 1497, is shown in the same posture.50 The seal’s legend: ANDREAS TT S PRISCAE PRES CAR DE VALLE, reflects della Valle’s receipt of the seat of Santa Prisca in 1525.51

The stylistic affinities shared between the della Valle and Cibo seals is previously discussed by Matthew Sillence who ascribed them both to the eponymous “Della Valle Engraver,” the identity of whom is here suggested to be Antonio.52 Features of the Cibo seal may also be equated with distinguishing characteristics of the plaquettes here associated with Antonio, such as the stylistic treatment of wings featured on the angel of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre plaquette and the wide, swelling drapery of the seated Virgin recalling the treatment of drapery on the Risen Christ and Trinity plaquettes (Fig. 11). The low relief faces in profile, featured along the seal’s exergue, may casually imitate those rendered in the distant background of the Chigi tondi.

Fig. 11: Details of a seal for Cardinal Innocenzo Cibo, here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-18 (left; Louvre); detail of a pax with a lunette relief of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre, here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-22 (above-right, Convert collection); detail of a plaquette of the Risen Christ, here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-22 (below-right, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Antonio’s aptitude in navigating the politics of courtly life and the Curia, serving also as a diplomat between Rome and San Marino,53 could have promulgated a climate in which commissions for the engraving of seals could be won. Pope Leo X’s consistories of 1517, in which thirty-one new tituli for Cardinals were awarded or transferred, would have entailed a swath of commissions for seals among Rome’s goldsmiths.54 Della Valle may have considered Antonio a candidate for executing his seal and could have met Antonio while serving as secretary to Pope Alexander VI in 1496.55 In this role, della Valle may have handled matters of patronage on behalf of the Pope to whom Antonio was included among the Pope’s choice goldsmiths. Alternatively, Raphael’s friendship with Antonio may have won him a recommendation when Raphael was tasked by Pope Leo X with cataloguing all the antiquities in Rome, entailing a probable visit to della Valle’s important collection of antiquities. Further, della Valle’s employment of Lorenzetto as architect for the courtyard intended to display his collection of antiques may have also brought Antonio into della Valle’s sphere, as Lorenzetto was likewise involved in the sculptural program of the Chigi chapels, operating also after Raphael’s designs.56

Fig. 12: Maarten van Heemskerck, The della Valle Sculpture Garden, ca. 1535-37 (Bibliotheque Nationale de France)

Antonio’s notional service to della Valle could also account for the architectural features of the Risen Christ plaquette whose environs informally imitate the designs for della Valle’s courtyard as observed on a sketch by Maarten van Heemskerck (Fig. 12). The open ceiling above, and the squared niches featured along the walls of the inner court, are similarly inferred by the open ceiling and recessed square niches depicted on the Risen Christ plaquette. This could suggest a speculative origin for the plaquette relative to a possible commission from della Valle or at minimum, an awareness of the designs intended for della Valle’s courtyard, executed by those within Raphael’s circle.57

Fig. 13: Gilt bronze pax, frame and relief of the Lamentation here attributed to Cesarino da Perugia, ca. 1522-24, lunette of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre after a model here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-22, altogether cast possibly ca. 1524-25 (Museo Correr)

The lunette of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre is best recognized for its incorporation on paxes featuring the plaquette of the Lamentation (Fig. 17), to be discussed, altogether set in an arched and classically inspired architectural frame (Fig. 13). As noted by Rossi, an inscribed dedication to a Roman protonotary apostolic, Domenico Caffi, featured on an example in Berlin58 and a quantity of examples reproducing an inscribed dedication to Cardinal Andrea della Valle,59 help secure the Roman origin for the reliefs. Additionally, the dedication to della Valle amplifies the possibility of a shared patron for both the seal and the pax. Notably, the arched typographic inscriptions featured on the pax compare favorably with the evenly kerned and vertically compressed Roman letter-type featured on della Valle’s seal, encouraging a common origin for both. The same letter-type is additionally observed on a medallic portrait of della Valle, executed by an unidentified hand, but here suggested as possibly Antonio’s workmanship (Fig. 14).60 The preference of rendering figures in-profile on the plaquettes here discussed could indeed suggest a sculptor experienced in medal portraiture.

Fig. 14: Portrait medal of Cardinal Andrea della Vale, possibly by Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1520-22/25 (?) (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

The medal’s reverse, depicting an allegory of Faith, closely follows in-scale and manner, the figures on the lunette of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre while the winged cherub atop the golden door of St. Peter’s is superficially comparable with those also featured on Cibo’s seal and its child effigy of Christ (Fig. 15).

Fig. 15: Detail of a pax with the Holy Women at the Sepulchre (above; Guillaume Convert collection); reverse of a portrait medal of Cardinal Andrea della Vale, with an Allegory of Faith pointing to Heaven, possibly by Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1520-22/25 (?) (below; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

According to the medal’s inscription: ANDREAS CAR DE VALLE AR ANNO IVBILEI, della Valle commissioned the medal for the 1525 Jubilee in which the Cardinal was assigned the honorary task of opening and closing the porta santa at Santa Maria Maggiore. The characteristic details and iconographic program of the medal were a subtle and refined means to promote his ambitions to become Pope.61

The Jubilee and della Valle’s reception of the seat of Santa Prisca, occurring in 1525, would incline the medal and seal to post-date Antonio’s lifetime since he died in October 1522. However, Pope Leo X originally awarded della Valle’s honors for the opening of the porta santa in 1520 when he issued della Valle also the title of Archpresbyter. This would give della Valle five years to anticipate the honorary event and calculate his public ambitions to become Pope. In preparation, della Valle may have commissioned the medal as early as 1520. Additionally, della Valle’s seal may have been commissioned even earlier upon his elevation to Cardinal in 1517, as it was customary for Cardinals, upon receipt of new tituli, to commission a seal within a year of their elevation. By the early 16th century inscribed legends on seals were increasingly prepared independent from the matrices to which they were attached. For example, the cast of Cibo’s seal at the Louvre, apparently reproducing the workshop model, features an empty outer margin in anticipation of applying an independently prepared legend. It’s quite possible an earlier inscription adorned della Valle’s seal, marking his ascent to Cardinal of Sta Agnese in Agone in 1517, whilst later updating the seal in 1525 to represent his receipt of the seat of Prisca that year.62 Like Cibo’s seal at the Louvre, an aftercast of the workshop model for della Valle’s seal is preserved featuring an empty margin where a seal’s legend could be applied and likewise where the Cardinal’s hat and armorial could be added to the exergue (Fig. 16). This would theoretically align the execution of both objects within Antonio’s lifetime.

Fig. 16: Plaquette cast of a seal for Cardinal Andrea della Vale, here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-18 (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

While these seals, plaquettes and medal cannot be proven to be Antonio’s invention without supporting documentary evidence, their close association with the Chigi tondi may at least place them reasonably within his circle, if not due the artist himself.

Like the Risen Christ plaquette, a variety of localizations have been proposed for the plaquette of a Lamentation (Fig. 17). Rossi was first to make a reasonable case for a Tuscan-Roman origin63 while Middeldorf first posited the association of the plaquette with Raphael’s influence, attributing it to the same author responsible for the Chigi tondi, then considered an anonymous work of Roman-Milanese origin.64 Other scholars have given the plaquette a generalized 16th century Italian assessment65 and Pope-Hennessey suggested a possible Emilian origin66 while Eugenio Imbert’s suggestion for a Florentine origin was mostly unnoticed.67

Fig. 17: Gilt bronze plaquette of the Lamentation, here attributed to Cesarino da Perugia, ca. 1524 (collection of Mario Scaglia, photo by Stefano Di Virgilio)

The Lamentation’s compositional and stylistic affinity with the Risen Christ plaquette, and their mutual feature of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre lunette on paxes, prompted Lewis to attribute the authorship of the Risen Christ and Lamentation plaquettes to the same hand,68 while Rossi provisionally attributed the Lamentation to Antonio for the same reason.69

Although the Lamentation plaquette is compositionally related to the works here suggested as Antonio’s, its execution is quite distinct, accomplished by a different and more sophisticated hand like Cesarino. For example, the actors are shown predominantly in a three-quarter perspective as opposed to the more linear, profiled approach of Antonio. Whereas Antonio balances his draperies with the occasion of thick folds, Cesarino maintains a more rotund manner of drapery that is distinguished by a higher instance of suave vertical pleats rather than bunched and angular folds. There is a marked attention to detail on the relief’s background which adds depth and a rich setting. The individual pathos of each actor in the relief’s scene and the gesture of their hands stylistically link it to Cesarino’s metalwork for the processional cross of the Sanctuary Mariano di Mongiovino and the silver statuettes he contributed to the Tabernacle of the True Cross in the church of San Francesco in Cortona (Fig. 18).70

Fig. 18: Details of a gilt bronze plaquette of the Lamentation, here attributed to Cesarino da Perugia, ca. 1524 (collection of Mario Scaglia); details of silver statuary and a relief for the Tabernacle of the True Cross, ca. 1507-24, by Cesarino da Perugia (above and left; Church of San Francesco in Cortona, Italy); detail of a processional cross for the Sanctuary Mariano di Mongiovino, ca. 1513, by Cesarino da Perugia

Foremost is the plaquette’s relationship to Raphael’s painted Deposition, a central altarpiece made for the Perugian-based Baglioni family chapel in San Francesco al Prato, now located in the Galleria Borghese.71 The influence of Raphael’s teacher, Perugino, is observed, inclined by that master’s Deposition of 1495 preserved in the Palazzo Pitti.72 Raphael’s panel was completed in 1507 and remained in Perugia until 1608. The Lamentation plaquette evidently follows characteristics of Raphael’s painting, originally intended as a Lamentation, and whose preparatory studies like those at the Ashmolean Museum (Fig. 19)73 and Louvre relate.74 The sketches inspired later prints by Raimondi75 and Agostino Veneziano,76 the latter of which Rossi cites as the probable source for the Lamentation plaquette.77 However, the plaquette’s distinct composition shouldn’t rule-out Cesarino’s possible proximity to Raphael’s preparatory studies for the painting and may provide a more direct source for the relief’s distinguished composition as suggested by Attilio Troncavini.78 Raphael’s tenure with the project in Perugia would place Cesarino in native proximity with its execution. Notably, Cesarino had collaborated with Raphael as early as 1502-0379 and as Daniele Simonelli observes, a silver relief of a Deposition featured on Cesarino’s tabernacle in Cortona, the work of an assistant or later follower, likewise borrows from the concetto of Raphael’s invention.80

Fig. 19: Study for a Lamentation, by Raphael or workshop, ca. 1506 (Ashmolean Museum)

Although speculative, Cesarino’s Lamentation may have had a conceptual impetus in possible plans to incorporate Passion scenes along the four sides of the base of the Cortona tabernacle whose commission Cesarino originally accepted in 1507, yet never fully completed.81

As discussed, the Lamentation plaquette is recognized for its feature on paxes reproducing a dedication to della Valle: HVMANI GENERIS SERVATORI ANDREAS CARDEVAL (Fig. 13). Casts of the della Valle pax most likely reproduce an unlocated silver original. Assuming della Valle commissioned the pax, it is possible he may have ordered it in proximity with his ascension to the rank of Cardinal in 1517, his receipt of the seat of Santa Maria Maggiore in 1520, or in response to the papal conclaves of 1521 and 1523, the latter of which della Valle was nominated as a papal candidate.82 It is less likely to date to 1525 or thereafter as the inscription does not cite the Cardinal’s seat of Santa Prisca like the seal does nor does it mention the Jubilee of 1525 to which the medal refers.

The quality of the bronze aftercasts of the pax featuring della Valle’s inscription suggest a quality mould was employed for their casting, possibly sourced from the original pax. Successive aftercasts of paxes bearing donor names is atypical. Often a plagiarizing provincial foundry will remove dedications from an object’s mould prior to casting their own editions. However, the feature of della Valle’s dedication on these casts suggest they were probably cast intentionally this way and possibly in unison with his medal, aimed at promoting himself as a contender for the papacy and perhaps seeking to secure favor through the donation of paxes to select individuals or churches. As such, these later aftercasts were probably made ca. 1524-25, suggesting also that the original pax is perhaps slightly earlier in origin.

The contemporary feature of two sculptor’s works on a single pax is infrequent since such works were often capably managed by a single sculptor or his assistants within a workshop.83 Exceptions were more typical when involving the incorporation of precious materials made by outside specialists like those excelling in gem-engraving or when incorporating earlier conceived works-of-art required to be set into updated frames.84 It’s possible Antonio may have received an original commission for the pax, left incomplete before his death in 1522. The width of the Lamentation plaquette almost certainly informs that it was intentionally prefigured in-scale to be placed together with the lunette which was probably earlier conceived. Cesarino may have inherited the theoretically unfinished commission, much as Antonio earlier adopted Cesarino’s tondi for the Chigi chapel, a project still on-going throughout the 1510s and evincing a working relationship between both goldsmiths. Thus, unless being the special request of its patron, to incorporate the work of two artists, Cesarino may have inherited the supposed commission, making use of Antonio’s completed lunette while realizing its frame and central relief independently.85 This latter idea could suggest a date of execution for the Lamentation relief between 1522-24, and further, if the relief is indeed Cesarino’s workmanship, the Lamentation may have been executed specifically in 1524 once Cesarino’s tenure with the Perugian mint had expired in 1523.86

The frame of the della Valle pax (Fig. 13) stylistically intersects with the classical features present on the Reliquary of the Sacred Ring to which Cesarino contributed (Fig. 01). In particular, the tiered upper frieze would reflect a manner of facture familiar to Cesarino and one straightforwardly executed with the same tasteful and refined visual balance observed on the reliquary.

Fig. 20: A relief of the Lamentation, here attributed to Cesarino da Perugia, ca. 1522-24, with a lunette of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre after a model here attributed to Antonio da San Marino, ca. 1517-22, altogether set in a footed silver pax, ca. 1517-27, possibly Umbrian, workshop or circle of Cesarino da Perugia (?) (Castello Sforzesco)

Discreetly cited in literature is an outlying silver example of the Lamentation plaquette and lunette of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre set into a unique silver pax frame at the Castello Sfrozesco (Fig. 20).87 The quality of the reliefs suggest they are probably contemporary casts although diminished in detail through use and successive cleanings over time. The pax is unlike other examples featuring the reliefs and its frame is in an antiquated style comparable with a goldsmith of Cesarino’s epoch. The style of the frame, the manner of its flanking dolphins surmounting the pax, and the independently cast feature of reclining angels mounted along the feet of the pax do not recall any immediate comparisons, but the work may be of Umbrian origin and possibly linked to Cesarino and his workshop.

A later reworked circular variant of the Lamentation plaquette is known in a minority of collections.88 These versions remodel the drapery beneath Christ while the attendant female to the far-right of the scene is moved closer to the congregation observing Christ’s body. A newly invented cityscape, based on the original relief, is added to the scene. This edition of the relief is late, probably 19th century, and the present author observes they were evidently used for decorating silver vanity trinket or snuff boxes (Fig. 21).89

Fig. 21: Silver box, 19th century, after a Lamentation here attributed to Cesarino da Perugia

Uncited in literature is the relief’s presence in Spain where it appears to have received some circulation among Andalusian workshops. An example of the Lamentation is truncated and cast integrally in a 16th century Spanish pax formerly in the collection of Pablo Bosch, likely the work of a provincial foundry.90 Contrarily, a fine silver aftercast set within an elaborate Spanish silver frame reproducing Italianate busts along the circumference of its base, one reproducing an all’antica plaquette Bust of Cato, after a classical cameo, is the esteemed work of an unknown Spanish silversmith of the mid-16th century (Fig. 22).91

Fig. 22: Silver pax, Spain, mid-16th century, with a relief of the Lamentation after a work here attributed to Cesarino da Perugia (Zenon Sierra Antiques)

With thanks to Attilio Troncavini, Anne Halpern, Elena Ottina, Francesca Tasso, Mario Scaglia, Zenon Sierra and Paul Joannides for their assistance during the preparation of this article.


1 Benvenuto Cellini (1558-63): The Life of Benvenuto Cellini written by himself. Trans. By J.A. Symonds, London, 1949, vol. 1., p. 14.

2 For Antonio da San Marino’s production of water cruets and a pax for Pietro Bembo see Irene Brooke (2011): Pietro Bembo, the goldsmith Antonio da San Marino and designs by Raphael. The Burlington Magazine, CLIII, July, pp. 452-57. For reference to his production of tableware for Pope Leo X see Angelo Mercati (1928): Le Spese Private di Leone X nel Maggio-Agosto 1513 in Memorie della Potificia Accademia romana di archeologia 2, pp. 106-07 and for reference of two paxes he made for Leo X, incorporating rock-crystal, see Pietro Franciosi (1916): Mastro Antonio da Sammarino, orafo del Rinascimento in Atti e memorie della regia deputazione di storia patria per le provincie di Romagna 4/VI, pp. 1-65.

3 Antonio purchased his Roman workshop from the Florentine goldsmith Guglielmo di Bartolomeo. See Girolamo Amati (2001): Lettere romane di Momo. Bologna, pp. 35-42 and Giuseppe Cugnonì (1877): Agostino Chigi il Magnifico in Archivio della società romana di storia patria, vol. 2, pp. 61, 484.

4 It is thought Antonio may have made some of the silver statuettes decorating Pope Alexander VI’s private chapel. See Eugène Müntz (1898): Les arts à la cour des papes: Innocent VIII, Alexander VI, Pie III (1484-1503). Paris, pp. 105-07.

5 Anna Bulgari Calissoni (1987): Maestri argentieri, gemmari e orafi di Roma. Rome.

6 Agostino Chigi’s property along via dei Banchi is discussed in G. Cugnonì (1877): op. cit. (note 3), vol. 2, pp. 63, 488-89.

7 G. Amati (2001): op. cit. (note 3).

8 A. Bulgari Calissoni (1987): op. cit. (note 5) and Costatino Bulgari (1959): Argentieri, gemmari and goldsmiths of Italy, Rome, L. Del Turco.

9 Laura Ciferri (1993-94): Cesarino del Roscetto: il Cellini umbro, Tesi di laurea a.a, relatore F. F. Mancini, Università di Perugia.

10 Girolamo Mancini (1867): Notizie sulla chiesa del Calcinaio e sui diritti che vi ha il comune di Cortona, Cortona, pp. 77-86 and Adamo Rossi (1873): Gli orefici Francesco di Valleriano, detto il Roscetto, e i suoi figli Federico e Cesarino, Perugia, p. 79.

11 A. Calissoni (1987): op. cit. (note 5).

12 For Raphael’s camaraderie with goldsmiths see John Shearman (2000): Raffaello e le “arti minori” in Vallerio Belli Vicentino, 1468c-1546. Vicenza, pp. 169-73.

13 Luke Syson and Dora Thornton (2001): Objects of Vertu, Art in Renaissance Italy. London, p. 160.

14 The verso of this sheet features a design of Hercules Fighting the Centaurs, believed intended for a bronze roundel. For a discussion of this sheet see Paul Joannides (1983): The Drawings of Raphael. Oxford, no. 53. Other goldsmiths and small-relief sculptors produced cast bronze metalwork for elaborate sword hilts during the late 15th and early 16th century. Most notable in this genre is the Bolognese Master IO.F.F., Galeazzo Mondella (called Moderno), Andrea Briosco (called Riccio) and Caradossa Foppa, the latter of whom Antonio served alongside on the consul of the Università degli Orefici. For a discussion on plaquettes and their use on weaponry see Christopher Fulton (1989): The Master IO.F.F. and the Function of Plaquettes in Studies in the History of Art Volume 22: Italian Plaquettes. National Gallery of Art, DC, pp. pp. 143-62 and Tobias Capwell (2013): Sharp Dressing – A Dress Sword of the Italian Renaissance. Apollo, February 2013, pp. 32-39.

15 L. Ciferri (1993-94): op. cit. (note 9).

16 L. Ciferri (1993-94): op. cit. (note 9), p. 33.

17 A. Bulgari Calissoni (1987): op. cit. (note 5), p. 309.

18 L. Ciferri (1993-94): op. cit. (note 9), pp. 33-34, 43-44. For the sketches see Ashmolean Inv. WA1846.211 (workshop of Raphael) and Windsor Castle Inv. RCIN 854250 (by Raphael).

19 The grotesque friezes are securely Cesarino da Perugia’s workmanship, adjudged by an estimate of the tabernacle in 1525 and their subsequent description in the Cortona inventories of 1570 and 1586. See Daniele Simonelli (2019): Il tempietto reliquiario della Croce Santa: emergenze storico-artistiche in Frate Elia, il Primo Francescanesimo e l’Oriente. Centro Italiano di Studi sull’alto Medioevo, Spoleto, pp. 85-98.

20 L. Ciferri (1993-94): op. cit. (note 9), p. 34.

21 G. Cugnonì (1877): op. cit. (note 3), p. 484.

22 The document is dated 10 November 1510: Die x.a novembris 1510. Magister Cesarinus Francisci de Perusio aurifex in Urbe, in regione Pontis, confessus fuit habuisse a domino Augustino chisio mercatore Senensi, per manus domini Angeli Guiduci, ducatos vigintiquinque auri de Camera, per compositionem et manifacturam duorum tondorum de brongiorum [sic], magnitudinis quatuor palmorum vel circa, cum pluribus floribus de me[d]io relevo, secundum ordinem et formam eidem dandam per magistrum Raphaelem Johannis Sancti de Urbino pictorem. Quos facere promisit infra sex menses proxime venturos sine exceptione; et sic dictus Angelus promisit eidem, finitis eisdem tondis, solver[e] residuum juxta extimationem peritorum in similibus, sine ali qua exceptione. Et pro dicto domino Cesare [sic], se principaliter et in solidum obligando: Magister Antonius magistri Pauli in regione Pontis quod idem Cesarinus promisit [eum] conservare indemnem [et] promisit quod dictus Cesarinus faciet dictos intondos infra dictum tempus, aliter promisit pecunias per dictum Cesarinum habitas et receptas restituere per [?] etc. Pro quibus etc., obligaverunt se sine exceptione, sub poenis Camere Apostolice etc., iuraverunt etc. Actum Rome in bancho de Chisiis, presentibus ibidem dominis Egomerio de Salmereis clerico Tolletane diocesis et Antonio Nugnes de Tolleto clerico Tolletane diocesis testibus. See Carlo Fea (1822): Notizie intorno Raffaele Sanzio da Urbino ed alcune di lui opera. Roma, pp. 81-82. Cesarino was paid 25 ducats for the tondi. This document is occasionally misinterpreted as referring to two bronze salvers rather than decorative tondi as here described.

23 Michael Hirst (1961): The Chigi Chapel in S. Maria della Pace. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 24, Nos. 3-4, pp. 161-85. The Warburg Institute. Raphael’s revised designs for the tondi survive. His sketch of Christ in Limbo is preserved at the Uffizi (Inv. 1475) and the sketch of the Incredulity of Saint Thomas is preserved in the Fitzwilliam Museum (Inv. PD.125-1961).

24 The contract is made 7 November 1511: Die vii novembris 1511 Magister Antonius magistri Pauli aurifex supradictus, sponte etc., promisit quod prefatus magister Cesarinus Francisci faciet tondos supradictos, secundum predictum ordinem ei dandum prout supra, infra octo menses proxime venturos; aliter promisit pecunias, per dictum Cesarinum iam receptas et recipiendas a prefato domino Augustino restituere infra dictum tempus sine aliqua exceptione, [cancellato: pro quibus etc. obligaverunt] et idem Cesarinus promisit eumdem relevare [indemnem], pro quibus etc., obligaverunt se sub poenis Camere Apostolice etc., juraverunt. Actum Rome in domo prefati domini Augustini, presentibus Guglielmo Francisco Bernardini mercatore Veneto et Paulo de Luca de Acquapendente testibus. See Carlo Pontani (1845): Opere architettoniche di Raffaello Sanzio incise and dichiarate. Roma, pp. 11-12.

25 L. Ciferri (1993-94): op. cit. (note 9), pp. 55-58 and A. Bulgari Calissoni (1987): op. cit. (note 5). Also see Caterina Bizzarri (2005): Gli Arredi Sacri del Santuario di Mongiovino. Mongiovino, p. 32.

26 It is probably with hesitation that the tondi have not been adequately accepted as Antonio’s workmanship despite his logical inheritance of the project since no autograph or secure works by Antonio are yet identified. However, by way of stylistic reduction, there are notable differences between the tondi and the securely identified work of Cesarino, allowing a reasonable assessment that the tondi are indeed the workmanship of Antonio. However, the present author observes that the feature of angels along the upper portion of the Christ in Limbo tondo slightly deviates stylistically from the rest of the sculpture’s manner and could be an addition made later by Antonio or by another hand just prior to its casting, particularly if plans for the casting of the tondi was interrupted or delayed during the lengthy realization of the Chigi Chapel project. Hirst makes a similar observation, noting also that the angels do not appear in Raphael’s disegno for the composition at the Fitzwilliam. See M. Hirst (1961): op. cit. (note 23). The angels appear inspired by the Etesian Winds depicted on the prized classical banded agate known as the Tazza Farnese, the most celebrated carved stone of antiquity during the Renaissance. The Tazza’s representation of an allegory of the Nile River inspired Renaissance artists and an awareness of the Tazza’s design was known within Raphael’s circle. Raphael and Cesarino’s teacher, Pietro Perugino, borrowed the figure of Jupiter from the Tazza as a model for his depiction of David on a painted tondo now kept at the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Nantes while Raphael likewise used this same figure as inspiration for his depiction of Jupiter on the Council of the Gods fresco executed for the loggia of Chigi’s Villa Farnesina in Rome. In particular, the figures representing the Etesian Winds are used also by Raphael in his painting of the Expulsion of Attila.

27 The Chigi tondi have inherited a variety of attributions including Cellini, Foppa and Lorenzo Lotti (called Lorenzetto). See Licia Parvis Marino (1992): Il Coro Ligneo. Chiaravalle. Arte e storia di un’abbazia cistercense. Milan, pp. 454-80. For the old attribution to Caradosso Foppa see Gustavo Frizzoni (1914): I Disegni della R. Galleria degli Uffizi, Serie Terza, Disegni di Raffaello. Florence, vol. 1, p. 182. More recently, Giovanni Agosti and Riccardo Naldi have opted for an ascription of the reliefs to Cesarino. See Giovanni Agosti (1990): Bambaia e il classicaismo lombardo, Torino and Riccardo Naldi (1997): Girolamo Santacroce. Orafo e scultore napoletano del Cinquencento, Napoli. See also Roberto Bartalini (1996): Le occasioni del Sodoma. Donzelli, p. 59. However, Norbert Nobis earlier made a sound case for their execution by Antonio. See Norbert Nobis (1979): Lorenzetto als Bildhauer, Bonn, Germany. The long-held mistaken attribution of the tondi to Lorenzetto is found in Ferdinando Reggiori (1970): L’abbazia di Chiaravalle. BPM Milano, pp. 103-04 and Angelo M. Caccin (1979): L’abbazia di Chiaravalle Milanese. Moneta, Milano, pp. 52-53 and Joachim Poeschke (1992): Die Skulptur der Renaissance in Italien, II, München.

28 M. Hirst (1961): op. cit. (note 23).

29 Ulrich Middeldorf (1944): Medals and Plaquettes from the Sigmund Morgenroth Collection. Chicago, no. 277, p. 39. The tondi were considered a Milanese invention after Raphael when Middeldorf ascribed the Lamentation plaquette to the author of the tondi. Middeldorf also commented on the plaquette’s stylistic affinities with the work of Vallerio Belli, Giovanni Bernardni, and particularly, Bernardi’s pupil: Muzio Zagaroli. However, the present author observes that while Zagaroli’s manner is close to the plaquette regarding its representation of thick, weighted and vertically pleated draperies, there is yet a stronger and later Mannerist expression in Zagaroli’s style that is not present on the Lamentation, notwithstanding the less sophisticated expressiveness observed in Zagaroli’s work when compared with Cesarino’s talent in modeling. For attributions associated with the tondi see footnotes 26 and 27.

30 P. Franciosi (1916): op. cit. (note 2)..

31 Èmile Molinier (1886): Les Bronzes de la Renaissance. Les plaquettes. Paris, Vol. II, no. 438, pp. 60-61.

32 Wilhelm von Bode (1904): Beschreibung der Bildwerke der Christlichen Epochen: Die Italienischen Bronzen. Berlin, Germany: Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, no. 1069, p. 100.

33 Ernst Bange (1922): Die Italienischen Bronzen der Renaissance und des Barock, Zweiter Teil: Reliefs und Plaketten. Berlin and Leipzig, Walter de Gruyter, no. 586, p. 80.

34 Seymour de Ricci (1931): The Gustave Dreyfus Collection: Renaissance Bronzes. Oxford, vol. 2, no. 272, p. 198.

35 John Pope-Hennessy (1965): Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Reliefs, plaquettes, statuettes, utensils and mortars. Phaidon Press, London, no. 312, p. 89.

36 Douglas Lewis’ attribution of the Lamentation plaquette to Gian Giacomo Caraglio is due to comparisons Lewis makes with Caraglio’s autograph engraved rock crystal of the Adoration of the Shepherds at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Stylistic similarities between that plaquette and the Risen Christ plaquette prompted Lewis’ designation of the Risen Christ likewise to Caraglio. Doug Lewis (2021): Risen Christ Appearing to the Ten Apostles (Nos. 450-51, Invs. 1957.14.396, 1942.9.273) and Lamentation (No. 499, Inv. 1957.14.533) (unpublished manuscript, accessed February 2021, 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.

37 J. Pope-Hennessey (1965): op. cit. (note 35), D. Lewis (2021): op. cit. (note 36), no. 450, et al.

38 Francesco Rossi (2011): La Collezione Mario Scaglia – Placchette, Vols. I-III. Lubrina Editore, Bergamo, no. VIII.9, pp. 315-17, 565.

39 Roger Jones and Nicholas Penny (1984): Raphael. Yale University Press.

40 I. Brooke (2011): op. cit. (note 2). The pax was commissioned by Pietro Bembo. While it is unconfirmed if Raphael ever successfully provided the design for Antonio’s pax frame, letters dated 22 September 1519 and 20 December 1519, between Pietro Bembo’s secretary, Fulvio Crisolino, and Antonio, discuss plans for Raphael to furnish the design for the frame. Brooke theorizes that Bembo’s commission for the pax was possibly in relation to a potential wedding gift for the marriage of his niece to his cousin, Giovanni Matteo Bembo. For Crisolino’s letters to Antonio see Bodelian Library, Oxford, MS.Ital 23, fols. 76-77, 82r, 101r and 103r.

41 Casts of the Risen Christ plaquette are located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Inv. 1975.1.1337), Museo Nazionale del Bargello (Inv. 422-C), Musei Civici di Brescia (Inv. 77), Museo Lazaro Galdiano (Inv. 5169), National Museum of Warsaw (published in Maria Stahr [1994]: Plakiety renesansowe: Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu. Poznań, no. 86), National Gallery of Art (Inv. 1957.14.396), Musèe des Beaux-Arts, Lyon (Inv. 44), one formerly in the collection of Cyril Humprhis (Sotheby’s auction, 11 January 1995, lot 279b), one deaccessioned from the John Pierpont Morgan collection (Parke-Bernet sale, NY, 10 May 1950, lot 54) and one formerly in the Berlin collections, lost since 1945 (see W. Bode [1904]: op. cit. [note 32], no. 1069). Later casts of lesser quality incorporating a diamond-grid patterned ground and occasional edits to Christ’s nimbus are observed in the collection of Mario Scaglia (see. F. Rossi [2011] op. cit. [note 38], no. VIII.7, pp. 312-13), two unpublished examples in the collection of Sandro Ubertazzi (email communication, February 2017, nos. 75 and 76) and an example with a truncated arched-top set into a unique pax frame formerly in the collection of Stefano Bardini (Christies auction, 27 May 1902, lot 134). Additional examples in pax frames are discussed in footnote 44 save for two unique paxes, uncited in literature: an art market example set into a mid-16th century North European frame, probably Spanish or Flemish, with a reworked ground featuring vegetation (Fischer auction, Lot 4015) and an unpublished crude silver cast of the relief set into a gilt bronze 17th century Italian Baroque frame belonging to an unidentified church in the Diocesi of Bologna.

42 Identified by examples at the National Gallery of Art, DC (Inv. 1957.14.534) and one formerly in the collection of Paul Garnier (Hôtel Drouot, Paris, auction 22 December 1916, lot 581).

43 On account of the Holy Women at the Sepluchre lunette’s frequent association with the Lamentation plaquette on paxes, past literature has associated the lunette with the same hand. See E. Moliner (1886): op. cit. (note 31), vol. 2, no. 570, p. 117, S. Ricci (1931): op. cit. (note 34), vol. 2, no. 400, p. 264, J. Pope-Hennessey (1965): op. cit. (note 35), no. 301, p. 86, Francesco Rossi (1974): Placchette. Sec. XV-XIX. Vicenza, Italy: Neri Pozza Editore, no. 118, pp. 86-87 and F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 38), VIII.9, pp. 315-17. Apart from the present author’s suggestion of an alternate inventor for both reliefs, Lewis has also suggested this idea, ascribing the lunette to Valerio Belli. In discussing the iconographic program for an altar service commissioned by Pope Clement VII in 1533, inclusive of a pax, Lewis deducts its iconographic program to have included a probable engraved rock-crystal pediment relief depicting Christ’s empty tomb and an engraved rock-crystal relief of the Resurrection as its central relief. However, it is uncertain if Belli’s pax was ever completed as the delivery of the altar service received by Pope Clement VII’s successor, Pope Paul III, does not list a pax in the received altar service. Lewis theorizes that Belli may have only completed the pediment in the form of a lunette, perhaps subsequently received by Andrea della Valle who may have requested its inclusion in the paxes featuring his dedication. However, this theory seems unlikely given della Valle died a year later, allowing only a limited period for its production notwithstanding a dating beyond the first quarter of the 16th century and an incongruence with any significant event in della Valle’s career. Notably, Lewis does adjudge the relief “very Raphaelesque,” and as such it could be reasoned that Raphael or an artist in his ambit may have produced the concetto of the lunette’s composition subsequently copied among his circle of goldsmith friends, inclusive of Belli, who may have chosen to utilize it for a planned pax for Pope Clement VII. As Lewis notes, a similar schematic program was shortly thereafter executed by Giovanni Bernardi in 1539. D. Lewis (2021): op. cit. (note 36), no. 423, Inv. 1957.14.534. For documentation concerning Belli’s pax for Pope Clement VII in 1533 see Antonio Bertolotti (1888): Le arti minori alla corte di Mantova in Archivio storico lombardo 15:4, December, pp. 980-1075, see p. 1014. For Pope Paul III’s subsequent receipt of Belli’s rock-crystal altar service see Giorgio Vasari (1568): Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects. Translated by Gaston Du C. De Vere. Macmillian, London, vol. 6, p. 83. For Bernardi’s 1539 pax see Valentino Donati (1989): Pietre Dure e Medaglie del Rinascimento – Giovanni da Castel Bolognese. Ferrara, pp. 210-11.

44 Examples of the Risen Christ featured in this pax frame are at the Civic Museum of La Spezia (Inv. Bp.47, this example lacks the cherubim along the base and lateral garlands flanking the pax), and National Gallery of Art (Inv. 1942.9.273). Two previously uncited examples are in the private collections of Guillaume Convert (email communication, 2016) and another in a private Italian collection (formerly offered at Henri Adam auction 19 February 2015, lot 128). Lewis suggested the frame of this pax could be Venetian in origin. See D. Lewis (2021): op. cit. (note 43), no. 423.

45 A third frame of similar import is also the product of the same enterprising workshop, although known by only a minority of examples: British Museum (Inv. 1915,12-16.190), one formerly with Stefano Bardini (Christie’s auction, 27 May 1902, lot 128), one offered via Astarte auction, 13 September 2003, lot 1601 and two formerly with Mario Scaglia (his inventory nos. 195, 196). These paxes instead feature an example of the Lamentation plaquette. The base of the frame features flanking winged cherubim beneath a pair of doubled columns while the triangular pediment features a figure of God the Father blessing applied to its peak. It should be noted that although the reliefs featured in these frames are probably earlier inventions, they are here utilized with stylistically updated frames in-keeping with the tastes of a subsequent generation. However, the scarcity of these frames and their collective association with a minority of specific reliefs like the Risen Christ, Lamentation, Holy Women at the Sepulchre and Trinity, indicate a taxonomy derived from a common source probably connected to descendants of Antonio’s workshop and possibly a pupil like Giovanni Firenzuola who later was an assistant to Cellini. See B. Cellini (1558-63): op. cit. (note 1).

46 Louvre, Inv. OA2543.

47 These frames cannot be ascribed to Antonio’s invention as the stylized wings on the flanking cherubim deviate from those depicted on the angels featured on the seal for Cardinal Innocenzo Cibo and on the lunette of the Holy Women at the Sepulchre. The exaggerated scale of the frame’s cherubim and their less defined characterization would also distance their invention from the more talented hand of Antonio.

48 Brooke likewise suggests this idea. I. Brooke (2011): op. cit. (note 2).

49 Emee Hendrickson has pointed out the architecture’s similarity with Bramante’s original designs for the new St. Peters Basilica, begun in 1506. Emee Barrow Hendrickson (2017): The Bronze Portrait Medal of Cardinal Andrea della Valle. PhD thesis. University of Alabama.

50 Cima’s painting is preserved at the Gallerie dell’Accademia Venezia, No. 36. Antonio may have occasionally visited Venice. His documented awareness of the specialized enamels produced in Venice may attest to this idea. See I. Brooke (2011): op. cit. (note 2).

51 Luigi Passerini (1873): Sigillo del Cardinale Della Valle in Estratto Dal Periodico Di Numismatica E Sfragistica V, no. v, pp. 3-8.

52 The della Valle seal has traditionally been assigned to Lautizio di Meo de’ Rotelli (called Lautizio da Perugia) who was active in Rome between 1511-27 and whom Cellini edified with praise and jealousy in his autobiography. See B. Cellini (1558-63): op. cit. (note 1), vol. 1, p. 26 and vol. 2, p. 1. For the seal’s attribution to Lautizio see L. Passerini (1873): op. cit. (note 51), pp. 265-70, Charles Fortnum (1887): The Seal of Cardinal Andrea de Valle, A.D. 1517, with remarks on some other some other cardinals’ seals of that period, ascribed to Lautizio of Perugia, and to Cellini. Archaeologia, no. 50, pp. 118-28, and Jeremy Warren who provisionally follows the old attribution in Jeremy Warren (2014): Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Volume I: Sculptures in Metal. Ashmolean Museum Publications, UK, no. 25, pp. 94-96. On account of Cellini’s exaggerated claim that Lautizio unilaterally monopolized the facture of seals in Rome during the early 16th century, numerous 16th century seals have been attributed to him. Matthew Sillence has noted Cellini’s statements, coupled with a deficiency of knowledge concerning early 16th century Italian seal-making, has resulted in the uninformed attribution of a quantity of seals to Lautizio. See Matthew Sillence (2008): ‘…in quella era unico al Mondo’: A Reassessment of Cinquecento Seal Engraving and the Seal Matrices of Lautizio da Perugia in Good Impressions: Image and Authority in Medieval Seals. The Trustees of the British Museum, UK, pp. 100-05. Sillence’s stylistic examination of several seals associated with Lautizio distinguishes three unidentified though distinct authors for various seals still often associated with him. The proposed identification of the ‘Della Valle Engraver’ as Antonio da San Marino may subsequently help isolate the artistic style of Lautizio da Perugia. In particular, the accomplished seal of Giulio de’ Medici may reasonably be his workmanship, as documented debts for seals owed to Lautizio by Giulio de’ Medici are recorded in the latter’s will (Archivio notarile di Perugia, c. 229). However, the absence of descriptions for those seals makes a clear association of them with the Lautizio still somewhat tenuous. The seal for Cardinal Innocenzo Cibo was formerly attributed to Cellini. See Charles Avery (1999): An ‘Assumption of the Virgin’ by Benvenuto Cellini: A gilt–bronze seal in the Wernher Collection. Apollo 149/443, pp. 34-39. Sillence has argued Cibo’s seal was probably made in 1517 when Cibo received the titulus of Sta Maria in Domnica, thus preceding Cellini’s arrival in Rome.

53 For a discussion of Antonio’s political and papal network in Rome see Martina Bollini (2016): Antonio da San Marino, artist and diplomat, in Renaissance Rome. Warburg Institute presented 7-9 April, Artist networks and networking in and with Europe 700-1700, University of Edinburgh.

54 Giorgio Vasari (1568): Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects. Translated by Gaston Du C. De Vere. Macmillian, London, 1913, vol. V, pp. 55-60.

55 Christina Riebesell (1989): Della Vale, Andrea in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Biand 37: Della Fratta–Della Volpaia. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Roma.

56 Kathleen Wren Christian (2008): ‘Instauratio’ and ‘Pietas’: The Della Valle Collections of Ancient Sculpture in Studies in the History of Art: Collecting Sculpture in Early Modern Europe. No. 70, pp. 32–65. For the design of della Valle’s courtyard and Lorenzetto see William Stenhouse (2005): Visitors, Display, and Reception in the Antiquity Collections of Late-Renaissance Rome. Renaissance Quarterly, 58.2, pp. 397-434.

57 W. Stenhouse (2005): op. cit. (note 56).

58 Berlin Museums Inv. 1361. The inscription reads: DOMINICVS CAFFVS PROTHO NOTARIVS APLICVS. See W. Bode (1904): op. cit. (note 32), no. 1296, p. 124 and E. Bange (1922): op. cit. (note 33), no. 1028, p. 132.

59 Examples of the Lamentation pax featuring an inscribed dedication to Andrea della Valle are known by examples at the Museo Correr, Museo Civico di Brescia (Inv. 199), the Andrew Ciechanowiecki collection (Jacques Fischer [1969]: Sculpture in Miniature: The Andrew S. Ciechanowiecki Collection of Gilt and Gold Medals and Plaquettes. Shenval Press, UK, no. 423, p. 84), Adalbert von Lanna collection (deaccessioned from the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, see Rudolph Lepke auction, 21 March 1911, lot 261), and the Eugenio Imbert collection (1941): Le Placchette Italiane, secolo XV-XIX. Edizioni Luigi Alfieri, Milano, no. 12, p. 44. An outlier aftercast substituting the Lamentation with an example of Moderno’s Pietà is in the Musei Civici di Padua (Inv. No. 86), as cited by Luigi Rizzoli in 1921 in Le placchette nel Museo Bottacin di Padova, although omitted in Banzato and Pellegrini’s 1989 catalog of that collection in Bronzi e Placchette dei Musei Civici di Padova. The inscription reads: HVMANI GENERIS SERVATORI ANDREAS CARDEVAL.

60 Examples of the della Valle medal are known at the National Gallery of Art, DC (Inv. 1957.14.1101), the British Museum (Invs. M.257 and M.258), the Civici Musei di Brescia, the Museo Arqueologico Nacional in Madrid and the Palazzo dei Musei in Modena.

61 For della Valle’s honorary role in opening the santa porta see Herbert Thurston (1980): The Holy Year of Jubilee. AMS Press, NY. For della Valle’s use of a medal to help forward his ambitions to become Pope see E. B. Hendrickson (2017): op. cit. (note 49).

62 An example of this practice is observed on Giulio de’ Medici’s seal which was edited when Giulio became Pope Clemente VII and his seal matrix was adopted by his cousin, Ippolito, resulting in an update to the seal’s legend. Toward the end of the Quattrocento seals were less apt to feature the iconography of patron saints for the churches whose tituli Cardinal’s inherited, preferring instead more generalized religious scenes that would allow a seal to be updated rather than requiring the commission of entirely new seals. See M. Sillence (2008): op. cit. (note 52). The original model for Giulio’s seal (private collection, on loan to the Ashmolean) shows where the legend could be mounted or dismounted from its original matrix (reproduced in Jeremy Warren [2014]: op. cit. [note 52], fig. 58, p. 92). Warren has also commented that della Valle’s seal in bronze is unusual in that most seals were prepared in silver, noting that a principal version in silver may have preceded the bronze example of 1525 (ibid., p. 96).

63 F. Rossi (1974): op. cit. (note 43), nos. 118-19, pp. 86-88. See also Francesco Rossi (1985): Rassegna della Placchetta Artistica dal XV al XVII secolo. 6° Triennale Italiana della Medaglia d’Arte, nos. 78-79, pp., 229–30.

64 U. Middeldorf (1944): op. cit. (note 29), no. 277, p. 39.

65 E. Moliner (1886): op. cit. (note 31), nos. 568-69, p. 116; E. Bange (1922): op. cit. (note 33), no. 1028, p. 132; S. Ricci (1931): op. cit. (note 34), no. 399, p. 264.

66 Pope-Hennessey (1965): op. cit. (note 35), no. 300, p. 86.

67 E. Imbert (1941): op. cit. (note 59), no. 12, p. 44.

68 D. Lewis (2021): op. cit. (note 36), no. 449.

69 F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 38), No. VIII.9, pp. 315-17, 565.

70 The reliefs and statuettes identified as Cesarino’s work are first discussed in G. Mancini (1867): op. cit. (note 10) and A. Rossi (1873): op. cit. (note 10), pp. 18, 38-45. See also L. Ciferri (1993-94): op. cit. (note 9) and D. Simonelli (2019): op. cit. (note 19). The present author observes that the less accomplished reliefs portraying the Deposition and Invenio Crucis (Finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena), do not stylistically compare against the other more elaborate reliefs of the tabernacle’s program. They appear to be the work of an assistant or later follower as suggested also by Cesarino’s attempt to send his retinue to work on the tabernacle in his absence in 1521. See A. Rossi (1867): op. cit. (note 10), p. 39. See also footnote 80.

71 Galleria Borghese Inv. 170.

73 Pietro Scarpellini (1984): Perugino. Milan, no. 63.

73 Karl Theodore Parker (1956): Catalogue of Drawings in the Ashmolean Museum, vol. II, Italian Schools. Oxford, UK, no. 529 and P. Joannides (1983) op. cit. (note 14), no. 127.

74 Louvre Inv. 3865. See P. Joannides (1983): op. cit. (note 14), no. 125. Raphael’s preparatory sketches are thought conceived while he was in Florence in 1506, but the panel was executed in Perugia in 1507.

75 Adam Bartsch (1818): Le Peintre Graveur, vol. XIV, p. 44, no. 37

76 A. Bartsch (1818): op. cit. (note 75), no. 39. Most recent scholarship suggests Agostino Veneziano’s print of 1516 precedes the version executed by Marcantonio Raimondi. See Dominique Cordellier (1992): Raphael: Autour des dessins du Louvre, exh. cat., Villa Medici, Rome, nos. 33, 34 and pp. 106-7. Also see David Landau and Peter Parshall (1994): The Renaissance Print: 1470-1550. New Haven and London, pp. 137-39.

77 F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 38).

78 Attilio Troncavini draws further comparisons between the Lamentation plaquette and Raphael’s circle, noting additional sketches like one in the Uffizi (Inv. 7095F), formerly attributed to Taddeo Zuccari, and another preserved in the National Museum of Stuttgart, both which relate to the relief’s composition and suggest the circulation of Raphael’s concetto for his Deposition among contemporaries. See Attilio Troncavini (2017): Placchetta in bronzo raffigurante Compianto sul Cristo morto. (accessed February 2021).

79 John Shearman (2003): Raphael in Early Modern Sources 1483-1602. Yale University Press, pp. 143-46.

80 See D. Simonelli (2019): op. cit. (note 19). The reliefs of the Deposition and Invenio Crucis (Finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena) are not specifically mentioned in the 1525 estimate of the tabernacle but appear in the 1586 inventory as belonging to its old ornamentation. Simonelli calls them ‘stylistically similar’ to Cesarino’s work and they perhaps date to the second quarter of the 16th century.

81 For ideas concerning Cesarino’s original decorative program for the reliquary see D. Simonelli (2019): op. cit. (note 19).

82 C. Riebesell (1989): op. cit. (note 55).

83 Provincial bronze foundries were often involved in the practice of using extant plaquettes as models for their various productions, often mixing-and-matching moulds of frames and reliefs taken from disparate sources.

84 Thomas Richter (2003): Paxtafeln und Pacificalia: Studien zu Form, Ikonographie und liturgischem Gebrauch. Weimar, VDG. See also Antonio’s payment for the execution of two rock crystal paxes for the Papal Treasury in 1516 which may have involved works of engraved crystal executed by another hand. See P. Franciosi (1916): op. cit. (note 2).

85 Alternatively, the feature of Antonio’s lunette could also have been requested by the patron to meet a particular iconographic program. The lunette may also have been conceived even earlier, possibly in relation to the Risen Christ plaquette as suggested by later versions of the relief in pax-form (see footnote 44). This idea could suggest Antonio’s Risen Christ plaquette precedes Cesarino’s Lamentation. Although the lunette works well in context with the Lamentation paxes, the lunette maintains a particular visual harmony—via its balanced use of negative space—when companioned with the Risen Christ.

86 A. Bulgari Calissoni (1987): op. cit. (note 5), p. 309.

87 Castello Sforzesco, Oreficeria Inv. 104. The pax features an inscription along its frieze: S.AG.S.N.S.M., probably referring to its unidentified donor. The pax is largely undiscussed in literature and is only nominally mentioned in the census of D. Lewis (2021): op. cit. (note 36), no. 449 and F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 38). It is briefly summarized by Oleg Zastrow who ascribes it generically a Lombard origin of the early 16th century. O. Zastrow (1993): Museo d’Arti Applicate. Oreficerie. Castello Sforzesco. Milano, pp. 154- 56, no. 103.

88 F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 38). See Rossi Variant A.

89 Schuler auction, 20 September 2017, Lot 623.

90 Balclis auction, 12 July 2016, Lot 706.

91 With the dealer, Zenon Sierra (email communication, October 2020). The portrait bust of the woman along the base probably also has an antique source, yet-to-be identified. The Bust of Cato is believed to reproduce a lost antique gem thought recorded in Fulvio Orsini’s 16th century collection in Rome. Examples of the plaquette appear to have spread beyond the borders of Italy. For example, it is reproduced on a mortar from the Gillet collection, ca. 1580-1620, emanating from the Ile-de-France or Val-de-Loire and a terracotta mold and cast for this plaquette was also discovered in the excavations of Bernard Palissy’s mid-16th century Parisan porcelain workshop at Tuileries Palace in France. For a discussion of the plaquette Bust of Cato see F. Rossi (2011): op. cit. (note 38), no. I.8, p. 39 and Jeremy Warren (2014): Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Vol. 3: Plaquettes. Ashmolean Museum Publications, UK, no. 366, p. 907. For the bronze mortar see Bertrand Bergbauer (2012): Les Mortiers Francais en Bronze du XVI au XVIII siécle: production, iconographie et diffusion. Thesis, Université de Picardie Jules Verne.

One response to “Metalwork in the ambit of Raphael”

  1. […] Bronze, where writer Michael Riddick discusses Raphael’s metal works in the post “Metalwork in the ambit of Raphael“. You can see the metal works I’m talking about in Fig. 04 – and give their post […]

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