How will I freeze after the sun!

Silver brooch with enamel portrait of an italian woman, around 1880

"O, how will I freeze after the sun! Here I am a lord, at home a parasite." (Albrecht Dürer in a letter to Pirckheimer, Venice, October 1506) Italy has been the longing country of the Germans for centuries. Albrecht Dürer's saying already shows how the artist felt more comfortable and valued in the warm south than at home. Obviously, art and artistry had a different status in Italy than in Germany. Dürer was appreciated as a craftsman in Nuremberg, but he was not accorded the higher esteem that he enjoyed in Italy. From the letters to Wilibald Pirckheimer we know that Dürer was in Italy at least twice and created wonderful works there. Among other things, the portrait of a beautiful Venetian woman, which was later to adorn the old 5-DM notes of the Federal Republic. There are numerous rumours about this young unknown woman and it will never be completely clear what the relationship was between the Nuremberg master and the Italian beauty... The image of the beautiful Italian woman has run through art history since that time and reached its peak at the end of the 19th century. Charged with all kinds of layers of meaning, the ideal type of the Italian woman was seen as a demure, racy and admirably mysterious apparition, which quickly not only brought back memories of beautiful holidays, but was soon firmly anchored as a genuinely pictorial motif. In the small silver brooch of the late 19th century presented here, the emotions described above seem to have been captured. In wonderful enamel painting we see a young Italian woman in traditional costume typical of the region. A red headscarf barely restrains her flowing hair and her distinguished white skin places her in a higher class to which her splendid necklace corresponds. An antique pearl bar frames the painting and a pin makes the small tondo wearable as a brooch. This colourful piece of jewellery is a wonderful gift for all lovers of the arts and the land where the lemons bloom!

The journey into the past has retained its appeal right up to the present day. Again and again artists and designers deal with the fashions and forms of past times: Not only postmodernism lived from the recourse to antiquity, but also Picasso loved the classical period and the punk Vivienne Westwoods the baroque. In the 19th century, enthusiasm for the past was even greater. People of the time associated very specific qualities with the different artistic styles of their ancestors. Baroque was used for the castles of the nobility to express splendour and grandeur. Churches liked to be built in the Gothic style, since the Middle Ages were considered a particularly devout era - and the bourgeoisie was particularly fond of the Renaissance period. This epoch of free cities with its government of free citizens, rich merchants and patrons of the arts such as the Fuggers in Augsburg or the Medici in Florence exerted a special attraction on the aspiring class of merchants and factory owners of the 19th century. They recognized themselves and their desire for participation and importance in the state in the personalities of the past, had themselves painted in the style of the past and also bought jewelry in the style of the Renaissance.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.