Mirror

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

Silversmith: Medallions possibly by Johann Andreas Thelot (German, 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 × 39 3/4 in. (200.3 × 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.

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