A ca. 1600 miniature reverse painted and gilt rock crystal devotional pendant depicting St. Jerome set within its original gilt silver frame with the reverse bearing the Christian monogram of Christ: IHS. The frame is probably Spanish while the painting could either be Milanese (Italian) or Spanish.
Approximate size: 5.5 x 4.5 cm
Reverse painted and gilt compositions on rock crystal comprise a highly technical virtuosity in which gold gilding was first applied to the interior of a polished crystal surface followed by painted tones in tempera or oil and sequentially rendered in a reverse process that first applied lighter colors followed by dark colors. Great vision and skill were required of the artists responsible for these fine miniatures. It was not unusual for rare and precious works, such as this one, to be exported to Spain for mounting, suggesting the quality and craftsmanship of this painting could indeed be of Italian origin, though the art was later practice in Spain, though never reaching the zenith of mastery observed in Milan.
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