Judith: Real or Fake?

11 Aug

ooOOOHHH!!!  Shine-y JEWELRY!!!

Reinhold Vasters, “Pendant, Judith Holding the Head of Holofernes,” 19th century,                                                     Gold, enamel, diamonds, rubies, pearls; Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, US

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a group of rich people who wanted to collect Renaissance jewelry following the unprecedented destruction and dislocation of works of art in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars.   sometimes they found jewelry that had to be repaired, so they sent it to a restorer named Reinhold Vasters (1827-1909).   soon, Vasters realized that he could copy Renaissance pieces and sell them as forgeries.    Everything was copacetic until 1979, when more than 1,000 workshop drawings by Vasters were discovered in the archives of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and examination revealed that these were for fake pieces that had been sold to collections around the world as Renaissance jewelry.   Whoops!

Therefore, what we have here is an exquisite piece of metalwork depicting Judith with the head of Holofernes that may be from the Renaissance but is probably from the 19th century.   Ah well, the real question remains:  why WOULD someone want to wear a pendant with a woman holding a decapitated head?

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Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Glory


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