Antique 18th Century Spanish Silver Filagree Double Face Hand Painted Reliquary
The pendant form is completely hand wrought. Looking closely at the filagree we see repeating circles in fine delicate silver wire. Each circle is filled by swirls of silver wire. There are wide bands of silver which loop through the filagree, shimmering in the light. There is a finial at the top and bottom (small globe missing from top finial). There are fine chain frames around each portrait. Saint Theresa is carefully painted with pen and book (Saint Teresa of Ávila, was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, author, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer). Her countenance is reflective, in thought of what she is writing. The colors are muted; the background ochre and blue, Saint Theresa in her nun's habit of black and white with a brown robe.
The reverse side portrays Saint Benedict (After founding twelve communities of monks at Subiaco, Italy, Benedict of Norcia (480 AD - 21 March 547) traveled to Montecassino where he established a monastery and wrote "The Rule." This simple set of guidelines for how the life of a monk should be lived has become one of the most influential works in all of Western Christendom). He also holds pen in hand, reflecting on the words he writes on the page. His blue grey robe is beautiful against the ochre background. Both portraits are place under glass; there is a band of hand worked silver which serves a hand made frame over each glass.
It measures: 2 3/4" x 2 1/8" x 1/2" thick. It is in very good antique condition: The paintings still retain there original colors, the glass has no cracks or chips noted. There are irregular bends to the filagree and two missing bits of the circles at the right and left center. The silver filagree frame is still sturdy despite the filagree which is no longer there.
It is a very interesting reliquary, portraying to Saints who were both authors. It is a precious filagree example of the eighteenth century.
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