About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

T is for Tazze

These have been pushed back a couple of times as far as the queue goes, but I'm glad they're here now as they are only on show for a few more days in the US (exhibition finishes on March 11th - next Sunday), before coming to the UK, so I can let you know about them with 'minutes to spare' as the saying goes.

All images from Brian B, although there is plenty more available on the web for those who's interest is for the wider sphere of figural-sculpture, or renditions of the human form or whatever the phrase [I'm not finding] would be! However; I wouldn't know anything about them without Mr. Berke's contribution, so many thanks to him.

This is a silver guilt tazza (plural; tazze) currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with its eleven brothers and a whole bunch of copies, derivative 'homage' and influenced pieces, one of which we will look at tomorrow.

It may look like a cake-dish to you, it certainly looks like a cake-dish to me, but they are apparently standing cups, and are collectively known as the Aldobrandini Tazze, after the Roman Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, who was known to have owned them, they are also known as the 'Silver Caesars'.

Anyway not knowing anything about them, all this is paraphrasing the Metropolitan's own blurb or that of the next destination for the exhibition; the National Trust's property at Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury, Bucks'; the exhibition will open there on Wednesday April 18th.

Another of the originals; Vespasian. The tazze are thought to represent the 12 Caesars of Suetonius' famous work, with each cup (dish)'s bowl decorated with four finely wrought, engraved scenes, each of which can be tied to specific events or anecdotes as told by Suetonius in the The Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Incidentally: a bloody-good read.

Although credited to Aldobrandini (it is known/recorded that he had possession of them in 1603), it seems they were actually made for one of the Hapsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire further north, with the silversmiths being from or based-in the Low Countries, specifically the Southern Netherlands.

The clues (which are better explained on the websites or by visiting the exhibitions) point to Archduke Albert VII of Austria and the late 1590's as origin/owner. He may have subsequently gifted six of the tazze to the cardinal, the prelate having paid for the other six - according to his accounts?

Although it would be easy to use imagery (with proper acknowledgement and link-backs) from the websites, we're only going to look at Brain's images here, the websites are there and the exhibitions can be attended, albeit that the Met's is only running for a few more days.

These are copies made in the C19th, and have been left in their oxidised silver state, as the tazze were originally found when they resurfaced in London in 1826, the gilding added by the smiths of the day. Later still; some feet were changed . . . &etc . . . it's all on the websites.

And yes, if it wasn't for the known age and values, they could almost be a collection of unloved Stadden-clones on a table at a car-boot-sale!

Shot from the opposite corner; although there are 12 here, there seems to be a couple of duplicates (coloured dots) and there are signs of past gilding (white squares) on a couple of the pieces, but I believe there were quite a few copies made and there are more than these twelve on display alongside the originals as part of the whole exhibition.

The copies don't have the cup/dish, so presumably should be or are 'statuettes', but they are such accurate copies they are all referred to as silver Caesars. They (like the originals) would have been table centre-pieces for formal 'silver-service' functions and 'top-table' banquettes.

The naming of the parts! I would recommend that you follow the links and spend some time browsing the full story as it's quite interesting, and the Caesars are exquisite. Lovely things; thank you Mr B.


The exhibition has been made possible by The Schroder Foundation, Selim K. Zilkha, the Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Foundation, Nina von Maltzahn, and an anonymous donor.


Ranalcus said...

Yep, Italians love stuff like that
And informational pictures with names of parts are always cool and helpful (also sounds like you are a profesional antique collector if you say them to someone)

Hugh Walter said...

Glad you enjoyed it Ranalcus, but it's Mr. B to be thanked!