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Christoph Jamnitzer’s Speechless Defense of the Goldsmith’s Strengths

Shira Brisman

Published online:

16 Sep 2020



In 1616, the Nuremberg goldsmith Christoph Jamnitzer completed a commission for one patrician, Ernst Haller von Hallerstein, that served as a gift to another, Jacob Stark von Reckenhoff. In depicting at the cup’s stem the image of the ancient wrestler Milo of Croton carrying a bull, Jamnitzer alluded to an emblem decorating the city hall to pun on the associations with strength in the recipient’s last name. The iconography of the vessel thus bound the owner of the object to the virtues promoted in the building of governance at the same time that it demonstrated the goldsmith’s virtuosic balancing of weight. The cup thus makes visible the material and metaphorical links between the skills of the goldsmith’s craft and the ethics and politics of the free imperial city.

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Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte Issues

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