Spanish; Catalonia, Barcelona
Silver, silver gilt, and translucent enamel; H. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1988 (1988.66)
A rare example of a fourteenth-century silver altar furnishing, this chalice bears the punch mark of Barcelona on the underside of the base. Pierced rectilinear apertures with enamel plaques mounted underneath are characteristic of Catalonian goldsmith work. A very unusual feature of this chalice is the appearance of three male heads between the enameled plaques, which are delicately stippled with a fine, hard stylus. These heads are related to models found in several sketchbooks. The technique of stippling on metal appears to have been concentrated in the South Lowlands and in the Luxembourg-Prague-Cologne artistic axis, and is rarely found in Spain. The style of the drawing, however, does appear to rely on local models.