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The Entombment

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    first half 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast lead

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Alfred A. de Pass, Esq.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This oval plaquette depicting the Entombment is made by Valerio Belli in the first half of the 16th century.

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 1440s 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

Oval plaquette showing the figure of Christ, on the tomb, turned towards the left, supported by a bearded man, Joseph of Arimathaea, while His right hand is held by Mary Magdalene, who kneels at his feet. In the centre is the Virgin Mary with the Holy Women to the right are, St. John, Nicodemus and other figures. Above are two angels who hold a wreath of laurel; below are the signature VALERIVS F., and within a cartouche, the inscription HVIVS LIVORE SANATI SVMVS.
Narrow moulded rim.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


first half 16th century (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Cast lead


Height: 8.65 cm, Width: 6.25 cm

Object history note

Given by Alfred A. de Pass, Esq.

Descriptive line

Plaquette, cast lead, The Entombment, by Valerio Belli, Italy, first half of 16th century

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

List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1905 - 1908. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1905, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, 1909, p. 70
Maclagan, Eric. Catalogue of Italian Plaquettes . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924, p. 63





Subjects depicted

Wreath of laurel; Figures; Tomb; Angels


Christianity; Religion; Metalwork; Sculpture; Plaques & Plaquettes


Sculpture Collection

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