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Materia, meraviglia, memoria: performatività e interazioni semantiche nei grands joyaux con smalti sur ronde-bosse

Gianluca Ameri


The patronage of the Valois family fueled the creation of the new ronde-bosse enamelling technique, whose origins can be traced back to mid-fourteenth century. According to the written sources of the Valois courts, the first aim of the goldsmiths was to imitate the colors of nature; in time, the patrons’ lust for the most exclusive luxury objects led them to conceive the «grands joyaux». Many of these were a mix of goldsmith work and rare materials, such as ancient gems or exotic naturalia. At least two surviving pieces of this kind – the Dish of the Head of the Baptist now in Genoa, the Pax of Sigena stolen in 1991 – seem to have been created with a special regard to the performativity of their materials, connected to their context of use.