(b. 1567, Milano, d. 1624, Praha)


The Miseroni family produced six generations of lapidary artists, starting with Francesco in 1460 in Milan and ending with Ferdinand Eusebios's death in Prague in 1684. Many cups in nephrite jade were made by them for Princes and Emperors and some of them can be still admired today in museums and private collections.

The traces of the Miseroni family can be followed back to 1460 when a Francesco Miseroni is listed in the guild register of Milan as a goldsmith and with a monkey as his emblem. The international reputation of the Miseroni workshops started with Gasparo Miseroni, the grandson of Francesco, who worked together with his brother Girolamo.

In the intense international competition, Dukes, Princes and Emperors decided to lure lapidary artisans directly to their Court and to set up workshops there. In this manner Philip II of Spain called Gasparo Miseroni and his nephew Giulio, in 1582 and 1584 respectively, to Madrid to assist in the decoration of the new palaces and churches. Ferdinando I de' Medici followed and set up, based on Milanese expertise, in 1588 the Opifico delle pietre dure in Florence which culminated in the interior decoration of the Capella dei Principi by veneers of inlaid hard stones. Rudolf II in Prague engaged in the same year Gasparo's other nephew. Ottavio Miseroni and some of his brothers for semiprecious stone carvings there and completed the team in 1598 with Cosimo and Giovanni Castrucci, also from Milan, for was to become spectacular comessi work.

The competition for rare glyptic art objects was fierce and sometimes Princes, hearing that one of their peers had been able purchased one, wanted an exact and if possible more extravagant copy made for them also. Such a competition developed when Giovanni Ambrogio Miseroni, the brother of Ottavio, engraved a ruby of the size of a finger nail with the Double Headed Imperial Habsburg Eagle showing with on his breast the coat of arms of Rudolf II and being surrounded by the collar of the order of the Golden Fleece. This piece was presented, as introduction of the prowess of the Miseroni workshops, by Count Claudio Trivulzio in 1587 to Rudolf II in Prague. Rudolf II was amazed by this example of their work and engaged the Miseroni brothers in the following year to set up shop there.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.