As part of the preparation for our 20 years celebrations, our Chinese Bronzes and Women’s Library collections will be closed from Monday 26 February, reopening with the rest of our new season on Thursday 21 March.

Andalusia (?)

Pendant with the Immaculate Conception

Details

Artist

Andalusia (?)

Title

Pendant with the Immaculate Conception

Date

About 1630

Medium

Brass, gold, black, white, and blue enamel, and green paste

Dimensions

h 6.9 cm

Reference

CVCSC:0351.2.S

Collection

Naples

Status

On Display

This openwork pendant is dated to about 1630. The standing image of the Virgin, clothed in the rays of the sun and dressed in an enamelled tunic and blue mantle, with her hands together, is resting her feet on the horns of the moon. Below is an angel’s head with spread wings.

This iconography of Mary, known as the Apocalyptic Woman, comes from the New Testament (Revelation 12) and, at the time these objects were made, supported the then contested belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. This is emphasised by the inclusion of the openwork legend around the edge which reads CONCE[BID]A S[I]N P[EC]ADO O[RI]GINAL (‘conceived without original sin’). The number of surviving examples of pendants such as this reflects the increase in popular support for this belief in seventeenth-century Spain, where supporters of Mary’s conception without the stain of original sin campaigned tirelessly for it to be accepted as dogma by the Catholic Church (this did not happen until 1854). Even in Naples, then a viceroyalty of the Spanish Crown, there was fervent support for the belief, and in fact some of the most famous examples of art related to the depiction of the Immaculate Virgin came from Spanish patrons who employed artists in Naples.

Andalusia (?) Pendant with the Immaculate Conception About 1630 © Compton Verney