Italian - Chalice, late 19th century

Close

Object details

Accession number

M26e5

Primary Creator

Italian

Full title

Chalice

Creation Date

late 19th century

Provenance


Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner (as the work of the Florentine artist Benvenuto Cellini, 1500-1571) supposedly from the Vatican collection, Vatican City for $51,000 on 16 August 1900, through the art historian and archaeologist Richard Norton (1872-1918) and his agent Count Pio Resse, Rome.

Dimensions

26 cm (10 1/4 in.)

Display Media

Silver

Web Commentary

Two years after Isabella Stewart Gardner purchased the bust of Florentine banker Bindo Altoviti by Benvenuto Cellini, she purchased another work by the acclaimed Renaissance sculptor—this chalice. Richard Norton, the son of art historian Charles Eliot Norton, claimed that an agent of the Vatican offered to sell him the chalice secretly.  Isabella recalled years later that she had been told that the chalice had to be sold quietly in order to raise money during the pontificate of Leo XIII (r. 1878–1903). Mrs. Gardner swore her staff to silence and did not display the object for several years. The chalice was used at her Christmas masses and for a final time at her funeral service in 1924.It was later revealed that the chalice was a forgery made shortly before Isabella purchased it.

Permanent Gallery Location

Titian Room

Bibliography

Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), p. 180.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 221. (as either Italian, late 16th century or 18th century)
Rollin Hadley. “Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 9, no. 16 (19 Dec. 1965), p. 2. (as 17th century; the arms as Colonna)
Ellenor Alcorn et al. The Best of the Decorative Arts. Exploring Treasures in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum IV. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1992), pp. 12-13, ill. (as Italy, late 16th century?)
Alan Chong et al. Raphael, Cellini & A Renaissance Banker: The Patronage of Bindo Altoviti. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Florence: Museo Nazionale del Bargello, 2003), pp. 254-55, 261-62, fig. 150. (as late 1800s)

Rights and reproductions

The use of images, text, and all other media found on this website is limited. Please review Rights and Reproductions for details.

Commentary

Two years after Isabella Stewart Gardner purchased the bust of Florentine banker Bindo Altoviti by Benvenuto Cellini, she purchased another work by the acclaimed Renaissance sculptor—this chalice. Richard Norton, the son of art historian Charles Eliot Norton, claimed that an agent of the Vatican offered to sell him the chalice secretly.  Isabella recalled years later that she had been told that the chalice had to be sold quietly in order to raise money during the pontificate of Leo XIII (r. 1878–1903). Mrs. Gardner swore her staff to silence and did not display the object for several years. The chalice was used at her Christmas masses and for a final time at her funeral service in 1924.It was later revealed that the chalice was a forgery made shortly before Isabella purchased it.