Pendant with Emperor Ferdinand II and Empress Eleanor Gonzaga


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 542

This jewel is a nineteenth-century version of a type of German pendant that incorporated a gold coin or medal within an ornamental frame.[1] The central medallion of enameled gold, with portrait busts of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II (1578–1637) and his second wife, Eleanor Gonzaga of Mantua (1598–1655), whom he married in 1622, is a copy of a seventeenth-century bronze medal. An example of the medal is illustrated by Karl Domanig.[2] Both the bronze medal and the gold copy identify the subjects with a raised inscription: FERD · II · D : G · R · I · S · A · ET · LEON · PR · Æ · MANT. The reverse sides of both display the Hapsburg imperial arms, the date 1626, and the initials of the medalist, HR.

The ornament of the frame of the medal draws upon a decorative vocabulary in use during the latter part of the sixteenth century, and it would have been quite out of fashion by the third decade of the sixteenth century, when the bronze portrait medal was made. In addition, some of the enamel colors, the finishing of the gold, and the extreme flatness of the scrolled ornament mark this pendant as the work of a nineteenth-century craftsman.

[Clare Vincent, The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1984, p. 200, no. 120]

[1] For examples made in the last quarter of the sixteenth and the early seventeenth centuries, see E. Steingräber, Antique Jewelry, New York, 1957, p. 131, fig. 233, or Princely Magnificence: Court Jewels of the Renaissance, 1500–1630 (exhib. cat.), London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1980, p. 76, figs. 80, 81.

[2] K. Domanig, Porträtmedaillen des Erzhauses Österreich von Kaiser Friedrich III. bis Kaiser Franz II. aus der Medaillensammlung des Allerhochsten Kaiserhaus, Vienna, 1896, pl. XXIV, fig. 177, p. 16, no. 177.

Pendant with Emperor Ferdinand II and Empress Eleanor Gonzaga, Enameled gold set with diamonds and with pendant pearls, European

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