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Plaquette - An Antique Sacrifice
  • An Antique Sacrifice
    Belli, Valerio, born 1468 - died 1546
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An Antique Sacrifice

  • Object:

    Plaquette

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    first half of 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Belli, Valerio, born 1468 - died 1546 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast bronze

  • Museum number:

    955-1904

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This oval bronze plaquette depicting an antique sacrifice is made by Valerio Belli in the first half of the 16th century. Apparently moulded from an impression of a crystal engraved in imitation of the antique.

Belli (1468-1546) was born into a respected Vicentine family. He trained as a goldsmith and developed considerable skills in engraving crystals and dies. For Pope Clement VII he created his masterpiece, a crystal casket with 24 scenes from the life of Christ, now in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence.
Belli was strongly influenced by Raphael and Michelangelo.
He had a facility to work very quickly, and Vasari noted that Belli had flooded the world with his works.

Plaquettes are small plaques made of bronze, brass, lead or precious metals. They originated in the 1440ies with the desire to reproduce coins and hardstone engravings from ancient Greece and Rome. Some were made as collector's pieces, to be viewed and displayed in private, and others for practical purposes. They also inspired designs in other media, from architecture to bookbindings.

Physical description

Plaquette depicts: on the left is a half-draped seated figure of a priestess who places a snake upon a cylindrical altar with her left hand; in the background are two female attendants. Signed in the exergue

Place of Origin

Italy (made)

Date

first half of 16th century (made)

Artist/maker

Belli, Valerio, born 1468 - died 1546 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Cast bronze

Dimensions

Height: 3.6 cm, Width: 2.85 cm

Object history note

Acquired in London.

Historical context note

Apparently moulded from an impression of a crystal engraved in imitation of the antique.

Descriptive line

Plaquette, bronze, an Antique Sacrifice, by Valerio Belli, Italy, first half of 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Inventory of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1903 - 1904. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1904, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Wyman and Sons, Limited, 1908, p. 161
Maclagan, Eric. Catalogue of Italian Plaquettes . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924, p. 64
Martini, Luciana. Piccoli bronzi e placchette del Museo Nazionale di Ravenna. Bologna: University Press, 1985, pp. 180-181, no. 58

Materials

Bronze

Techniques

Casting

Subjects depicted

Sacrifice; Altar; Snake; Female figure; Figure; Priestess

Categories

Metalwork; Sculpture; Plaques & Plaquettes; Myths & Legends

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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