Attributed to Pierre Veyrier II (active circa 1528-1558), French, Limoges, circa 1550-1560, Large plaque with the Adoration of the Shepherds, partially gilt painted enamel on copper, in a gilt metal mount on a velvet covered wood frame; plaque: 24.4 by 24.4cm., 9 5/8 by 9 5/8 in.; frame: 29.5 by 29.5cm., 11 5/8 by 11 5/8 in. Estimation 25,000 — 35,000 GBP - Lot. Vendu 47,500 GBP. Photo Sotheby's
Provenance: Sotheby's London, 7 December 1989, lot 262
Note: This extraordinarily large and well-preserved enamel is attributable to Pierre Veyrier II on the basis of its parallels with a set of nine plaques with scenes from the Passion of the Christ in The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, one of which is monogrammed (inv. no. 44.364.), and two further plaques with The Deposition and The Resurrection in the St. Louis Art Museum (inv. nos. 90 and 91:1988). The serene blueish flesh tones, the strongly delineated drapery folds highlighted by gilding applied in plains and dots, the starry sky, the loosely painted grass, the white pea-pod enameling technique used to accentuate the trees in the background, and the elaborate brickwork on the architecture all tie the present plaque to the enamels in the United States. Specifically note the execution of the grass of the Resurrection plaques in both Baltimore and St. Louis, the highlighting of the columns in the present plaque and The Flagellation in Baltimore, and the boldly designed drapery of the sleeping St. Paul in Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane in Baltimore and the Seated Virgin in our enamel. For the designs of the Passion plaques Veyrier was inspired by Dürer's Small Passion but here the artist wonderfully reinterprets a more modern, Mannerist work, Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio's engraving after a Parmigianino drawing now in the Graphische Sammlung, Weimar (inv. no. 7393).
Veyrier is among the more mysterious Limoges enamelers from the 16th century. In addition to the plaques mentioned above, Verdier attributes three further plaques to the artist. Bearing the elements mentioned above in mind, it may be worth reviewing the central plaque with the great Crucifixion at the centre of the often contested triptych constructed from twelve plaques in the 19th-century in the Petit Palais (inv. no. ODUT01260) as a work by Veyrier as well.
P. Veyrier, Catalogue of the painted enamels of the Renaissance, cat. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1967, pp. 202-212, nos. 121-129; V. Notin (ed.), La recontre des héros, exh. cat. Musée Municipal de l'Évêché, Limoges, 2002, pp. 244-245, no. 84
Sotheby's. Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art, 9 juillet 2015 - Londres