The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery

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Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dec 11, 2017 - Antiques & Collectibles - 218 pages
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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.

 

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Contents

Suetonius the Silver Caesars and Mistaken Identities
32
Julia Siemon
46
Tracing the Origin of the Aldobrandini Tazze
78
Wolfram Koeppe
106
Michèle BimbenetPrivat
120
Xavier F Salomon
135
Ellenor Alcorn and Timothy Schroder
148
Archival Letters transcribed and with an introduction
169
Notes to the Essays
191
Bibliography
208
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About the author (2017)

Julia Siemon is assistant research curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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