South Germany, ca. 1550 70
height 4.9 cm, width 4.5 cm
When the plague in Basle in 1576-78 wiped out numerous artists and also caused some goldsmiths' workshops to close, the passionate collector Basilius Amerbach used the opportunity to extend his collection of models for goldsmiths' works. This insignificant lead cast, which may be the work of Erasmus Hornick from Antwerp, who was active in Augsburg, served as the model for a costly pendant in gold. The jewel is designed as miniature architecture. The niche contains a pair of intertwined, embracing naked lovers, accompanied by a cupid. Two recumbent lions flank this amorous scene. Colourful enamelling of the completed golden jewel would have resulted in a more sharply defined and three dimensional image. Settings prepared in the cast enabled the finished pendant to be fitted with precious jewels; at the sides there are square settings for cut and polished stones and in the upper and lower parts of the niche there are recesses for cabochons. Frequently such pieces of jewellery were further enriched with hanging pearls.