Spanish, second half 16th century, Pendant crucifix. Photo courtesy Sotheby's 

the cross with a cartellino inscribed: INRI in black enamel, enamelled gold with pearls: 7.2cm., 2 7/8 in overall. Estimation 3,000 — 4,000 GBP

The goldsmith who made this beautiful crucifix has succeeded in creating a wonderful play of textures that would have captivated the Renaissance patron. In his attempt to represent a naturalistic cross, he has successfully employed several virtuoso techniques, which include enamelling the cut-off branches green and chasing the surfaces of the cross so as to resemble the grain of wood. A similar 16th-century gold pendant crucifix with naturalistic cross can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. no. 260-1869), whilst the physiognomy of the corpus and the use of pearls compare with a 16th-century Spanish pendant, which is published by Muller (op. cit. p. 64). The cross with cut-off branches was one of the symbols of the Spanish Inquisition, similar branches appear on a Spanish processional cross dating from 1500 in the British Museum (inv. no. 1911, 0621.2)

RELATED LITERATURE: P. Muller, Jewels in Spain 1500-1800, New York, 2012, p. 64

Sotheby's. European Sculpture & Works of Art. London | 04 déc. 2013, 11:00 AM -www.sothebys.com