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Prudence

Artist:
Enamel on reverse after a design by Étienne Delaune (French, Orléans 1518/19–1583 Strasbourg)
Date:
ca. 1550–60, back 19th century
Culture:
French, Paris
Medium:
Chalcedony, mounted in gold with enamel, rubies, emeralds, diamond, and pearl
Dimensions:
Overall, with pendant pearl, without bail: 3 3/16 x 1 7/8 in. (8.2 x 4.8 cm); Overall, central commesso (confirmed): 1 9/16 x 1 7/16 in. (4 x 3.6 cm); 40 x 34.7 mm
Classification:
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.907
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 544
One of the four cardinal virtues, Prudence gazes into a mirror while holding a snake—attributes symbolizing, respectively, her self-knowledge and her wisdom. The pendant is an example of the Italian commesso technique, in which carved gemstones are combined with gold and enamel to create figural compositions. The enamel on the reverse, a nineteenth-century addition, is after a design by Étienne Delaune (1518/19–1583).
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