(b. ca. 1507, Wien, d. 1585, Nürnberg)


Silver, 23 x 10 x 6 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

In the 16th century, Nuremberg established itself alongside Padua as an important centre for the creation of casts from nature. Wenzel and Albrecht Jamnitzer excelled as pioneers of this technique, still new in southern Germany, and perfected its application in silver. Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol, the owner of the small inkstand, appears to have had a special fondness for small, cast animals.

The rectangular box, in whose lower half writing implements are stored, is captivating in its contrast between the clean lines of the box's structure and the energetic vitality of the cast from nature appliqués. The profiled areas of the cover are decorated with casts of insects, clams, a crab, a mouse, a toad and two lizards. An ample festoon of various cast flowers and grasses is situated on the lateral surfaces of the box.

This remarkable container can be seen as characteristic work of Wenzel Jamnitzer.

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