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Un capolavoro dell'oreficeria ottoniana milanese: la Pace di Chiavenna
Nuova serie, No. 116 (1) (1996), pp. 8-18
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43106931
Page Count: 11
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The so-called Pace of Chiavenna is actually the front cover of the binding of an evangelarium, in partly embossed gold plating. It also has a refined form of ornamentation which combines disks covered with filigree, precious stones, pearls and rectangular cloisonnée plaquettes with decorative motives. There are also four larger oval plaques which represent the Emanuel, The Archangel Gabriel, The Virgin Annunciate and The Visitation. The composition of the work and the typology of the different decorative elements can be compared to goldsmith's work which can be dated to a period of time falling between the Carloingian age and the beginning of the eleventh century, beginning with the altar of the basilica of Sant'Ambrogio (before 840). Apart from similarities to models from the Milanese school of goldsmithing, there are other tangents with Rhein area goldsmithing, and even closer ones with Byzantine work, as can be shown by a comparison with the Stauroteca of Limburg (949-59). The resulting physiognomy can be coherently fitted into the framework of known data about Milan in the decades around the turn of the millennium. The theme underlying the iconographical programme as a whole — the Incarnation of Christ — and other particular variants in the historiated enamels confirm its place in Lombard figurative language. These enamels are also the most useful component confirming a dating to the early Ottonian age, since they are very close to the enamel plaques on the Imperial Crown in the Schatzkammer in Vienna, probably commissioned by Otto I (962-973). The exceptional quality of the Pace, particularly evident in the fine execution of the various techniques and the mastery of the human figure in motion in a space perceived as three-dimensional lends authority to the hypothesis that the patron could have been Otto himself, since he repeatedly stayed in Milan and could have commissioned several ivory carvings from a Milanese atelier.
Arte Lombarda © 1996 Vita e Pensiero – Pubblicazioni dell’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore