Michael Gunterdt

Not on view

The laurel-framed armorial device on this beaker depicts two laurel-crowned warriors holding ribbons inscribed Justitia and flanked by the initials GL and the date 1638. Heraldic signs or emblems were an essential part of the life of the region’s aristocracy. A title of nobility bestowed by a sovereign testified to a person’s accomplishments and glorious ancestry as well as the might of those who were allowed to display them. Usually engraved, arms had to be easily recognizable. They were often highlighted by a cartouche or playfully encircled by ornamental patterns. Arms could also be a hidden surprise: if they were applied inside a beaker, they would be visible only when a guest emptied his cup. If applied to the underside of the vessel, the arms would only be revealed to spectators while someone was drinking.

Elemér Kőszeghy. Magyarországi ötvösjegyek a középkortól 1867-ig / Merkzeichen der Goldschmiede Ungarns vom Mittelalter bis 1867. Budapest, 1936, no. 1401a [maker’s mark].
European Silver. Sale cat., Sotheby’s, Geneva, May 12, 1983, p. 47, no. 111.
Judit H. Kolba. Hungarian Silver: The Nicolas M. Salgo Collection. London, 1996, p. 48, no. 26.

Erdély régi művészeti emlékeinek kiállítása az Iparművészeti múzeumban / Ausstellung alten Kunstgewerbes aus Siebenbürgen. Exh. cat. Országos Magyar Iparművészeti Múzeum. Budapest, 1931, p. 26, no. 104.

A similar beaker with snakeskin decoration was sold by Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen in Heilbronn, sale no. 161, no. 448.

[Wolfram Koeppe 2015]

Beaker, Michael Gunterdt (active 1636–59), Gilded silver, Hungarian, Nagyszeben

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