A GoldSmith’s workshop circa 1572

I have always loved history. And, I have always loved jewelry. So, I am very happy to have found a way to explore both of these passions at the same time.

Above is a painting by Alessandro Fei (1543-92) This oil painting was made for the Studiolo of the Grand Duke Francesco de” Medici between 1570 and 1575.  The Studiolo was a room in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, where the paintings concealed the cupboards behind in which the Grand Duke kept his mineral specimens, like rock crystal objects, jewels, gold, silver, and so.

This painting of a Goldsmith’s workshop appears to portray the Florentine court craftsmen, at work in the Casino San Marco. It shows many different aspects of normal goldsmith’s work, from the preparatory drawings and designs pinned up for their guidance to the furnaces for casting and annealing.

There are two standing men hammering out dishes while another sits chasing a silver basin. In the foreground sits the master goldsmith working on the Medici Grand Ducal crown and holding it with his left hand; the design for the crown is pinned up where he can refer to it at a glance…

Published by Peter Lopez

Peter is a lifelong student of art with a particular passion for jewelry, vintage European cars, movies, books, and history.

2 thoughts on “A GoldSmith’s workshop circa 1572

  1. I am curious to know what type of vaults/safekeeping mechanisms would have been used by the gold and silversmiths during the 1500’s – 1600’s. How were they protecting all of the precious metals deposited to them by others? What were they doing to effectively discourage being targeted by organized thieves?

    1. Great question Darrin,

      From what I know, throughout the middle ages and the Renaissance prior to 1700, lockable wooden boxes or chests remained the standard secure storage system. A basic construction of thick, heavy hardwood was the norm; and ornate decorative carvings are sometimes found on the outsides of surviving examples from the 13th century onwards. The wooden chests were sometimes reinforced for strength with iron bars or bands.


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