Design of a Candlestick with Winged Figures at Base Surrounding Scenic Medallion

Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) Italian

Not on view

Although he received commissions for numerous monumental
fresco cycles throughout his thirty-year career, it was as a
designer of small-scale decorative objects that Perino’s artistic
imagination took flight. This lavish design for a bronze
candlestick brimming with ornament is a veritable
advertisement for his prodigious powers of invention. In a
seamless synthesis of the sacred and profane that epitomizes
the cultural ethos of Renaissance Rome, classicizing
swags, acanthus leaves, and grotteschi frame a medallion—
presumably an engraved rock crystal—illustrating an
episode of the Passion. The Christian imagery—both the
narrative scene and the saint standing in a niche at the
top—indicates that the candlestick was intended for an altar
rather than a secular domestic context. Nothing about the
patron or the intended setting are known, but according to
the biographer Giorgio Vasari, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese
commissioned Perino to design rock-crystal plaques to
ornament two altar candlesticks. Conceivably, the present
sheet relates to that project, as do two studies by Perino
in the Museum's collection.

Design of a Candlestick with Winged Figures at Base Surrounding Scenic Medallion, Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) (Italian, Florence 1501–1547 Rome), Pen and brown ink, brown and gray wash

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