Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Betrayal

The Betrayal (above) is one of a number of lead plaques recording a set of designs illustrating Christ's Passion that Valerio Belli (about 1468-1546) made in rock crystal between 1533 and 1539.

A bronze version of the same theme is in The Cleveland Museum of Art (below)(8.6cm x 9.5cm, circa 1530)

The lead plaques are housed and exhibited in The British Museum, London

They were intended to decorate candlesticks, caskets and other altar furniture owned by Pope Paul III.

The original rock crystal intaglios with these compositions, signed by Belli, survive.

They probably decorated the base of a candlestick or the lid of a casket, similar to that below

Valerio Belli: Rock crystal case mounted on gilded silver and glazed. 1532, Museo degli argenti, Florence

Belli's rendering of Christian iconography in a classical style was particularly admired during the classical revival of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.