Pendant with Charity and Her Children

probably German, Augsburg

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 540

Yvonne Hackenbroch attributed this jewel to an Augsburg goldsmith working in the style of Daniel Mignot, a French Huguenot ornamental engraver, who was in Augsburg in the early 1590s and published a large number of engraved designs for jewels. A few of these are in the style associated with the Augsburg enamel work of David Altenstetter of around 1600, but many more have the airy, open, scrolled backs, decorated with swags and grotesques like those found on the reverse side of this pendant. One series of designs, dated 1593, illustrates pendants decorated with the Cardinal Virtues, including Charity clad only in a loose, open robe. Mignot’s designs must have circulated widely, for at least three of them from the series of the Virtues were copied with minor revisions by Johann Israël and Johann Théodore de Bry. The goldsmith who made this jewel has modified the Mignot designs considerably, but he must have had extensive knowledge of them, for he adopted decorative details from several engravings in different series.

At some time in its history, this jewel was broken in two, and there is evidence of at least two attempts to refurbish it. The back was soldered together, and the small figures of Hope and Faith were added to strengthen the repair. The six cross-shaped jewel settings, each holding a ruby in the center and diamonds in the arms of the cross, were either repaired or, more likely, newly made. Still another, less skillful, goldsmith replaced or reenameled the base on which Charity stands and reset the jewels.

Pendant with Charity and Her Children, Gold, partly enameled and set with diamonds, rubies, and an emerald and with pendant pearls, probably German, Augsburg

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