Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Pendant in the form of a mermaid

Designer:
Probably based on a design by Reinhold Vasters (German, Erkelenz 1827–1909 Aachen)
Date:
ca. 1870–95
Culture:
German or French
Medium:
Baroque pearl with enameled gold mounts set with diamonds and with pendant pearls
Dimensions:
Height: 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982
Accession Number:
1982.60.377
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 542
A number of details of the design of this jewel—including the long, attenuated fish tail, the wispy, featherlike skirt, the stole draped from the shoulders, and the hair styled in a low chignon worn with a tiara—are present in two unpublished designs for a mermaid jewel by the Aachen goldsmith Reinhold Vasters that are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The techniques employed in finishing the enameled gold tail indicate that the goldsmith who executed the jewel misunderstood certain Renaissance practices in preparing gold to receive enamel and in smoothing and polishing the surface once the enamel has been fired, misunderstandings that may have arisen, at least in part, from looking at worn or damaged sixteenth-century jewels.
Jack and Belle Linsky (until 1982; to MMA)
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