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The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery

The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery

Various authors
2017
234 pages
212 illustrations
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The twelve monumental silver-gilt standing cups known as the Aldobrandini Tazze constitute perhaps the most enigmatic masterpiece of Renaissance European metalwork. Topped with statuettes of the Twelve Caesars, the tazze are decorated with marvelously detailed scenes illustrating the lives of those ancient Roman rulers. The work’s origin is unknown, and the ensemble was divided in the nineteenth century and widely dispersed, greatly hampering study. This volume, inspired by a groundbreaking symposium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, examines topics ranging from the tazze’s representation of the ancient world to their fate in the hands of nineteenth-century collectors, and presents newly discovered archival material and advanced scientific findings. The distinguished essayists propose answers to critical questions that have long surrounded the set and shed light on the stature of Renaissance goldsmiths’ work as an art form, establishing a new standard for the study of Renaissance silver.

Met Art in Publication

Claudius Tazza, Gilded silver, Flemish, Antwerp (?)
Flemish, Antwerp (?)
ca. 1587–99
Tazza with Emperor Tiberius figure and dish with scenes from the life of Nero, Gilded silver, Flemish, Antwerp (?)
Flemish, Antwerp (?)
ca. 1587–99
Vitellius tazza, Gilded silver, Flemish, Antwerp (?)
Flemish, Antwerp (?)
ca. 1587–99, foot added after mid-19th century
Birdseye View of the Port of Rome, from "Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae", Giulio de Musi  Italian, Engraving
Multiple artists/makers
1554
Circus Maximus, from "Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae", Nicolas Beatrizet  French, Engraving; first state of three
Multiple artists/makers
1553
Antiquae Urbis Romae cum Regionibus Simulacrum, Fabio Calvo  Italian, Printed book with hand-colored woodcuts
Multiple artists/makers
1532
Descrizione del regale apparato per le nozze della serenissima madama Cristina di Loreno moglie del serenissimo don Ferdinando Medici III Gran Duca di Toscana, Raffaello Gualterotti  Italian, Printed book with etched illustrations
Multiple artists/makers
1589
Plate G: Election and Coronation of Emperor Maximilian II, Anonymous, German, 17th century  German, Etching
Multiple artists/makers
1612
Triumphal Entry of Margaret of Austria into Milan, from The Life of Margaret of Austria, plate 10, Antonio Tempesta  Italian, Etching; first issue of two (Bartsch)
Multiple artists/makers
1612
Descriptio Publicae Gratulationis Spectaculorum et Ludorum, in Advent Sereniss. Principis Ernesti Archiducis Austriae ...  (Entry of Ernest, Archduke of Austria, into Antwerp, July 18, 1594), Peeter van der Borcht  Netherlandish, Engraving
Multiple artists/makers
1595
Plate XII: Caesares, from "Descriptio Publicae Gratulationis Spectaculorum et Ludorum, in Advent Sereniss", Peeter van der Borcht  Netherlandish, Engraving
Multiple artists/makers
1595
Title Plate with Two Pendant Designs Above and Neptune Standing on a Cartouche Below, Adriaen Collaert  Netherlandish, Engraving; second state of four (New Hollstein)
Multiple artists/makers
1582
Ewer, Ferdinand Eusebio Miseroni  Italian, Smoky rock crystal, enamel, gold, diamonds, Bohemian, Prague with French, Paris mounts
ca. 1680 and early 19th century
Roman Emperor, Reinhold Vasters  German, Gold, enamel, semi-precious stones, German
19th century

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Citation

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Siemoneit, Julia, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Waddesdon Manor, eds. 2017. The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Symposia. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.