Small rock-crystal jug
Della Scala workshop, Saracchi workshop or Giovanni Angelo Bezone
Milan, ca 1600
Rock crystal; mount: gold, enamel
Height 13 cm, upper diameter 5 cm
Provenance: New York, collection of Baronesse Batsheva de Rothschild (1914-1999)
Published in: Laue, G.: Tresor. Treasures for European Kunstkammer, Munich 2017, pp. 86-87, pp. 190-191, Cat. No. 1
Of paramount importance for the attribution of this magnificent jug on grounds of style and date to one of the above workshops is a rock-crystal bowl from the Gonzaga collections, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This bowl sports identical handles and similar engraving in the form of delicate arabesques. It is also inscribed with the letters ‘SIC’ with a halfmoon, which indicates that it was commissioned by Vincenzo I Gonzaga (r. 1587-1612). The most recent research shows that the bowl in the Metropolitan Museum was made 1600 in one of three workshops: the Della Scala workshop, the Saracchi workshop or Giovanni Angelo Bezone. The gold mount of the present jug with its simple egg-and-dart friezes in blue and white enamel is another feature typical of Milanese works in cut stone ca 1600. The jug was probably originally one of a pair used as liturgical vessels to hold the water and the wine before consecration at Communion. There is a similar pair of Communion cruets in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.