Friday, January 31, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: The Countess Harley Teleki Brooch, 1610 and 1620

The Victoria & Albert Museum
This jeweled locket of enameled gold is set with table-cut diamonds, rubies and emeralds. As a truly stunning centerpiece, the largest ruby is set in a heart-shaped gold frame and pierced by two arrows. A smartly enameled locket in the back of the jewel contains the miniature portrait of a man.

Such a brooch would have been presented by a man to his love. This example was made in Prague between 1610 and 1620. Cupid, the cherubic son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, was as popular a symbol of love in the Seventeenth Century as he is today. In fact, he’s been shooting arrows into hearts for many centuries and reached a new height in popularity during the Italian Renaissance. 

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