Ewer with scenes depicting the legend of Marcus Curtius

Adam van Vianen I Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 520

The astonishing design of this unique ewer begs for close examination. It is an exemplary manifestation of the bizarre Auricular style fashionable in the Netherlands in the early seventeenth century. The organic and fluid forms, characteristic of this style, are reminiscent of the inner ear, hence its name. Human masks, fish, slugs, and dragons emerge from what resembles the thickening flow of molten lava. Adam van Vianen, a silversmith celebrated for the virtuosity of his creations, signed and dated the vessel. A closely related ewer was depicted by Willem Kalf in a mid-seventeenth century still life, perpetuating the fame of its maker, as a sculptor in in precious metal.

Ewer with scenes depicting the legend of Marcus Curtius, Adam van Vianen I (Dutch, Utrecht ca. 1568/69–1627 Utrecht), Silver, Dutch, Utrecht

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