Pendant with Scenes from the Life of Christ and Two Saints

Designer Reinhold Vasters German

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 542

The frame of this pendant was made from an unpublished design by Reinhold Vasters in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv. No. E 3569-1919). The pendant is based on a sixteenth-century type believed to have been made in northern Italy or perhaps Spain. Faith Dennis published an example from the J. Pierpont Morgan Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (17.190.882).

While it is possible that the frame may have been designed for existing pieces of verre églomisé, or reverse-painted glass, close examination of the paintings suggests that they, too, are the products of a nineteenth-century craftsman. There are four verre églomisé paintings, all apparently by the same hand. Those on one side of the jewel illustrate the Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds and, in the center, a separate piece shows a hermit saint kneeling before a crucifix; on the other side are the Adoration of the Magi and, in the center, a female saint seated in front of a crucifix. Leaving aside the question of whether or not it is probable that four complementary sixteenth-century pieces are likely to have been available for mounting in the nineteenth century, the vagueness of the iconographic scheme and the inferior quality of the painting indicate that the entire jewel is probably a nineteenth-century fabrication.

Pendant with Scenes from the Life of Christ and Two Saints, Reinhold Vasters (German, Erkelenz 1827–1909 Aachen), Verre eglomisé with enameled gold mounts and with a pendant pearl, German or French

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