Goblet, Glass, enameled and gilded, Italian, Venice, Murano


ca. 1475–1500 (modern foot)
Italian, Venice, Murano
Glass, enameled and gilded
Overall (confirmed): H. 6 7/8 x W. 3 7/16 in. (17.5 x 8.7 cm); Diameter of cup: 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.730a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 500
This fine, deep blue Venetian glass bears exquisite enameling, an early survival of this technique and scale of decoration. The enameling, reminiscent of manuscript illumination, illustrates an apocryphal story about the Latin poet Virgil, transformed in the popular medieval imagination into a magician. Taking revenge on the maiden Febilla who spurned his advances, Virgil magically extinguished all the fires in Rome and cruelly demanded that Febilla be exposed in the marketplace until all of the city's women had rekindled their fires with tapers lighted from an enchanted live coal he had placed inside her body.
Inscription: Below bust of man with book in main scene: [1] originally VEBILIO in black, apparently amended during course of enameling to VERBLIO by addition of red enamel strokes to the B and I of VEBILIO; [2] VENITE (trans: plural command, Latin, Come! or Come here! addressed to the lines of maidens)
Alessandro Castellani (until 1884; sale, at Palais Castellani, Rome, March 17–April 10 , 1884, Deuxième partie, no. 405); E. Joseph (until 1890; sale, Christie, Manson and Wood, London, May 6, 1890, no. 96); J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)