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Plaque with the Personification of Africa (?)
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Plaque with the Personification of Africa (?)


Description Provenance Credit
Description This depiction of a beautiful woman as a hunter (indicated by her footwear) from outside of Europe (signaled by her exotically decorated drapery) is puzzling. Iron was rarely used for art, because it was hard to work, especially to create fine detail. To introduce the detail, sculptors turned to gold. Similar plaques decorated a splendid casket commissioned by Emperor Maximilian II. This use of iron may take advantage of the metal's color to depict a black African, possibly as a personification of the continent Africa, one of the four continents (along with Europe, Asia, and America) then known to Europeans.
Provenance Frédéric Spitzer, Paris, by purchase; Sale, Paul Chevallier and Charles Mannheim, April 17, 1893, no. ???; Joseph Brummer, New York, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1929, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1929

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Creator
Period
ca. 1550-1575 (Early Modern)
Medium
stamped gilded iron
(Metal)
Accession Number
52.150
Measurements
5 9/16 x 2 13/16 in. (14.2 x 7.2 cm)
Geographies
  • Italy, Milan (Place of Origin)
  • Italy, Venice (Place of Origin)

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