The Virgin and Child Triumphing over Evil, Probably by Francesco Giardoni (1692–1757), Silver, gilt bronze, and wood, Italian, Rome

The Virgin and Child Triumphing over Evil

Probably by Francesco Giardoni (1692–1757)
ca. 1731–40
Italian, Rome
Silver, gilt bronze, and wood
Relief: 10 9/16 × 8 7/8 in. (26.8 × 22.5 cm); Frame: 23 5/16 × 14 1/2 in. (59.2 × 36.8 cm)
Metalwork-Silver In Combination
Credit Line:
Wrightsman Fund, 1992
Accession Number:
Not on view
Throughout the eighteenth century aristocratic patrons and foreign princes commissioned sumptuous liturgical silver from the artists of the papal court in Rome. This rare devotional relief reflects the Late Baroque style with classicistic overtones epitomized by the Corsini Chapel in San Giovanni Laterano, Rome.

The inscription IPSA CONTERET CAPUT TUUM (she will crush thy head [see Genesis 3:15]), engraved in the cartouche at the top of the frame, refers to the relief's subject, an allegory of Redemption and the Church's Triumph over Heresy.

The exquisite handling of the silver medallion, its matte surfaces contrasted with brilliantly burnished highlights, is set off to advantage by the vibrant design of the frame, The convex entablature with a large vertical cartouche harks back to architectural precedents set by Francesco Borromini (1599–1667), just as the mask at the bottom is reminiscent of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's famous marble bust of a Blessed Soul. The successful synthesis of different High Baroque motifs held together by the beaded-and-guilloche border of the central medallion, is typical of the best work of Giardoni, who from 1731 to 1754 held the post of official silversmith of the Camera Apostolica and to whom the present work may be most convincingly attributed.
Inscription: Engraved on cartouche at top of frame: IPSA / CONTERET / CAPUT / TUUM [trans.: "She will crush thy head" - Genesis 3:15]

On back, in center of panel: [monogram] "Ave Maria" surrounded by a crown of twelve stars
Rome and Florence, Corsini Collection ; [ Alain Moatti , in December 1991–92; sold to MMA ]