Jesus among the Doctors – Valerio Belli (1468-1546)

Valerio Belli (1468-1546).
Jesus among the doctors.
Patinated bronze.
Rome, ca. 1535.

Valerio Belli, also known as Valerio Vincento, was a famous medallist, gem engraver and goldsmith who was the most renowned specialist in rock crystal engraving. The preciousness of the material as well as the technicality of the realization of his intaglios and engraved medals were most prized amongst the prestigious collectors of Rome.

Thus, Valerio Belli was commissioned by Pope Clement VII to make a rock crystal box as a gift to François I to celebrate the wedding between Catherine de Medici and the Dauphin of France, the future Henri II, in 1532. Today it is kept in the Pitti Palace in Florence and is decorated with twenty cut rock crystal reliefs representing scenes from the life of Jesus, including our subject, Jesus among the doctors.

Our plaque dates from the same period as the Medici box as Valerio Belli used to transpose his rock-crystal plaques into bronze.


Similar plaquettes in public collections:

National Gallery in London, n°1957.14.487, from the collection of Samuel H. Kress.
Another is in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, n°2005.130.

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