raaen99 posted a photo:
At only two centimetres in diameter, this continental silver, reverse glass painting and guilloché enamel brooch is a miniature piece of art. Of Austrian origin, it is marked on the reverse with the number 900, it is made of 90% pure silver and is only just shy of 100% quality sterling silver. Many high-end jewellers in Vienna made 900 grade quality silver jewellery for the wealthy upper-middle and upper classes during a period of great economic and cultural growth between the 1890s until the outbreak of the Second World War. Turn of the Twentieth Century Vienna is also famous for its love and support of the Jugendstil movement (the artistic style that arose in Germany and Austria about the mid 1890s and continued through the first decade of the 20th century, deriving its name from the Munich magazine Die Jugend (“Youth”), which featured Art Nouveau designs), through famous institutions such as the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop), established in 1903 by Koloman Moser and Josef Hoffmann, and artists like Gustav Klimt and Emilie Louise Flöge who were supported by wealthy patrons and philanthropists like the Bloch Bauer family.
This year the FFF+ Group have decided to have a weekly challenge called “Snap Happy”. A different theme chosen by a member of the group each week, and the image is to be posted on the Monday of the week.
This week the theme, which incidentally will be the final weekly “Snap Happy” theme before reverting to monthly on the 5th of December, is “anything at all… as long as it is small” which was chosen by me.
The stylised Art Nouveau woman in this brooch is painted in reverse directly onto the glass, an art form with its derivations found in Middle Age Central Europe, which reached its zenith in the 19th Century when painting on glass was widely popular as folk art in Austria, Bavaria, Moravia, Bohemia and Slovakia, but was also taken up by highly skilled artisans who created fine miniatures using single hair brushes. This brooch is one of the latter. The finer details in the forefront of the image you see were painted first using a single hair brush, followed then by the blocks of colour filling out the image using various brush types and thicknesses, building up the image in reverse. This brooch is unusual and was probably more expensive or may been have been a commissioned bespoke piece because it has a brilliant yellow guilloché enamel background. Guilloché is a decorative technique in which a very precise, intricate and repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into an underlying material via engine turning, which uses a machine of the same name, also called a rose engine lathe. This mechanical technique improved on more time-consuming designs achieved by hand and allowed for greater delicacy, precision, and closeness of line, as well as greater speed. Translucent enamel was applied over guilloché metal by Peter Carl Fabergé on the Faberge eggs and other pieces from the 1880s.
Two phases can be discerned in Jugendstil: an early one, before 1900, that is mainly floral in character, rooted in English Art Nouveau and Japanese applied arts and prints; and a later, more abstract phase, growing out of the Viennese work of the Belgian-born architect and designer Henry van de Velde. This brooch is definitely of the pre-1900 phase both because of the image of the young woman in the brooch, but also the foliate filigree work in the silver mount.
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