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Mirror

Johann Valentin Gevers (German, ca. 1662–1737)

Silversmith:
Medallions possibly by Johann Andreas Thelot (1655–1734)
Date:
ca. 1710
Culture:
German, Augsburg
Medium:
Oak and pine veneered with tortoiseshell, silver, silver gilt, and green-stained ivory; mirror glass
Dimensions:
Overall: 78 7/8 x 39 3/4 in. (200.3 x 101 cm)
Classification:
Woodwork-Furniture
Credit Line:
Wrightsman Fund, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.20
  • Description

    This sumptuous mirror evokes the wealth of silver furnishings at the Versailles of Louis XIV and, to a lesser extent, at other European Baroque courts, much of which has since been melted down. Made in Augsburg, one of the most important centers for the working of precious metals, this mirror was the result of a collaborative effort. A specialist cabinetmaker (Silberschreiner) who specialized in the veneering of luxurious objects with tortoiseshell, ivory, and sometimes precious stones was responsible for the frame, and different silversmiths provided the silver and gilt-silver mounts. The allegorical figures on the elaborate crest symbolize two of the four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence with a mirror and snake (right) and Temperance, holding calipers and a bridle (left). The pair of silver medallions near the top of the frame represent a courting couple, while the pair below may illustrate two of the four continents: Europe (with crown, scepter, and horse) and Asia (with treasure chest and camels). The mirror probably originally had a pendant displaying the remaining Virtues and Continents.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: On lambrequin above mirror glass: [1] Pinecone (Augsburg mark, 1709–10); [2] J V G, in heart (maker's mark)

  • Provenance

    François Gérard Seligmann ; [ sale, Ader Picard Tajan, Monte-Carlo , March 17, 1988, lot no. 87; to Moatti ] ; Alain Moatti (from 1988)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
207785

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