Skip to main content

The Silver Caesars : a Renaissance mystery



Complete Citation

  • Siemon, Julia Alexandra, Alcorn, Ellenor, Beard, Mary, Bimbenet-Privat, Michèle, Borsch, Linda, Carò, Federico, Koeppe, Wolfram, Salomon, Xavier F., Schroder, Timothy, Walker, Stephanie, and Wypyski, Mark. 2017. The Silver Caesars : a Renaissance mystery, edited by Siemon, Julia Alexandra. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.



  • The twelve monumental silver-gilt standing cups known as the Aldobrandini Tazze constitute perhaps the most enigmatic masterpiece of Renaissance European metalwork. Topped with statuettes of the Twelve Caesars, the tazze are decorated with marvelously detailed scenes illustrating the lives of those ancient Roman rulers. The work's origin is unknown, and the ensemble was divided in the nineteenth century and widely dispersed, greatly hampering study. This volume examines topics ranging from the tazze's representation of the ancient world to their fate in the hands of nineteenth-century collectors, and presents newly discovered archival material and advanced scientific findings. The distinguished essayists propose answers to critical questions that have long surrounded the set and shed light on the stature of Renaissance goldsmiths' work as an art form, making this a major contribution to the study of Renaissance silver. The essays in this volume grew out of a symposium held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on June 18 and 19, 2014. An exhibition of the same title was held at the Metropolitan Museum from December 12, 2017 through March 11, 2018, and at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, from April 18 through July 21, 2018.


Publication Date

  • 2017