Giovanni Giardini (Italian, 16661721)
Gilt bronze, lapis lazuli, and silver; Gr. H. 32 3/4 in. (60.3 cm), Gr. W. 14 3/8 in. (36.5 cm), Gr. D. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
Wrightsman Fund, 1995 (1995.110)
In the fifth century, Saint Mary of Egypt spent forty-seven years as a holy hermit in the desert until a priest visited her with the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Like the painting by Benedetto Luti on which it is based, the silver relief in this holy-water stoup depicts the saint seated alone in a rocky wilderness. Given by Pope Clement IX to the Spanish ambassador at the papal court, it suggests the munificence of the papacy and the splendor of Roman Baroque church furnishings, including those intended for the private chapels of the powerful.