Italy

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Images features the Virgin Mary, seated in a stable, holding the infant Jesus, who emits a radiant light. The pair are surrounded by a group of adoring angels and shepherds, while above, the rafters open to a heavenly scene of clouds and putti. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this image.
Brighter Than The Sun
In the late fourteenth century, an elderly nun named Bridget experienced a mystical vision.  Born in Sweden in 1303, Bridget (now St. Bridget) was nearly seventy when she made a pilgrimage to Bethlehem, and witnessed a holy sight.  In her account of what transpired, St. Bridget describes a vision of the birth of Jesus in...
Image features a drawing in pen and brown ink, bistre wash, and charcoal on laid paper. Five men are seated astride crocodiles. Two of the crocodiles are in the Nile and three of them are at the bank on the left. Two more heads of crocodiles emerge from the water. One spectator stands at left under a tree. More people are shown on the other bank. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Crocodile Hunt
How to catch a crocodile? In this drawing, the Flemish artist Jan van der Straet, called Stradanus (1523 —1605) shows us one particularly bold method. Hunters sit astride their prey, forcing long sticks between the crocodiles’ snapping jaws; companions armed with clubs wait nearby, ready to bludgeon the overpowered reptiles. The image isn’t based on...
Image features short glass vase of of campana-urn form, the interior of copper-toned aventurine the exterior with blue, white and yellow florette murrines; C-form handles on left and right. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Frozen in Time
This urn-shaped vase represents important historic glass making techniques whose possibilities were expanded during the revival of glass production in late 19th-century Venice. The form features two spectacular variations of glass for the viewer to enjoy and ponder. At first glance, the most eye-catching feature is the inner layer of avventurina (also known as aventurine), the metallic copper-toned...
Pen and brown ink drawing of a woman seated on an octagonal platform, painting at an easel. She is encircled by eight columns supporting a cupola above.
Elisabetta Sirani, “Gem of Italy”
On November 14, 1665, the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna was crowded with mourners. They were gathered to remember a young female artist, Elisabetta Sirani (1638 – 1665), who had died suddenly the previous August.[1] Although only 27 at the time of her death, Elisabetta was already an acclaimed painter, draftsman, and printmaker—a contemporary...
Image features nude man, seated, seen from behind, rendered in green and black ink. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Renaissance Chiaroscuro Woodcut
This print, with its striking green hue, is the result of an innovative collaboration between two Italian Renaissance artists. Working together in Bologna in the late 1520s, the painter Francesco Mazzola (called Parmigianino, 1503-1540) and the printmaker Antonio da Trento (1508-1550) were early adopters of a new technique that allowed for the production of multicolored...
Image features tall vase with vertical rods of lattimo glass alternating with transparent glass containing irregular circular and oval polychromed murrine. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Glass Rods, Like Slices of Candy, Add Color and Depth
To celebrate the opening of Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color (May 11, 2018-January 13, 2019), Object of the Day this month will feature colorful objects from the exhibition. This vase by Anzolo Fuga, was created using clear glass (cristallo) which was decorated with vertical rods of opaque white glass (lattimo) and multi-colored murrine. Murrine are colored...
Image features upright triangular vase composed of blue, red, green and clear glass squares. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object
Like a Patchwork of light
To celebrate the opening of Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color (May 11, 2018-January 13, 2019), Object of the Day this month will feature colorful objects from the exhibition. This post was originally published on January 1, 2013. Murano, an island located just north of Venice, Italy, in the Laguna Veneta, has been a glass-making center since...
Double Golden Dragons
This extraordinary chalice takes its inspiration from dragon-stem goblets made by the legendary Venetian glassworkers in the seventeenth century. In this example, also made in Venice but in the late nineteenth century by Salviati & Company, the dragons have been elevated to the body of the cup. Several remarkable glassworking techniques are on display in this object....
Metals and Materials
This striking drawing, titled Altar Mensa for the Borghese Chapel in the Santa Maria Maggiore, is by a lesser known but influential architect, Mario Asprucci the Younger.  Using water color paint to achieve vibrant illustrations of various, colored marbles and metals, Asprucci captures the architecture’s sumptuous materials and allegorical themes. The Borghese Chapel was originally...