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SAN RANIERI IN AMERICA. DUE OREFICERIE DI METÀ QUATTROCENTO FRA NEW YORK E PISA    

Gabriele Donati

 

The gilded copper reliquary dated 1446 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art) has been well-known for a long time as a rare example of the early infiltration of Renaissance forms inspired by Brunelleschi and Donatello in the field of goldworking. Its iconographic legacy includes, among the four figures of Saints in niches, one plausibly identified as Saint Ranierius, a saint who lived in the twelfth century and was venerated in Pisa. The likely Pisan provenance of the reliquary therefore is confirmed through stylistic comparison with a gilded copper monstrance that is still preserved today in that Tuscan city in the church of San Nicola. Although the conventions of the monstrance are still gothic, as one might expect for an object that belonged to a type well codified in tradition, the enamels with the Music-Making Angels that decorate the shaft reveal the same hand that engraved the Saints – about 10 or 15 years earlier – in the New York reliquary. This anonymous goldsmith, whether a Pisan or a Florentine, must have made a significant impact on the history of local goldsmith work at the height of the Quattrocento.