Over the centuries, rock crystal—the colorless quartz found in the St. Gotthard region of the Alps—has been valued for its diamondlike hardness and clarity, yet these same qualities make it extremely difficult to carve. This striking Crucifix displays the inherent beauty of this dazzling medium, handled by a master and further enhanced with enamel and gold. The Milan workshop that produced this cross was founded by a goldsmith, Ambrogio Matteo Miseroni, but his sons, who inherited the shop, worked in hardstone as well as gold. Their expertise in handling costly and challenging materials attracted the patronage of such powerful and discerning patrons as King Philip II of Spain and the Queen of France, Catherine de’ Medici. From its intricately carved base, embellished with bands of gold and colored enamel, to the elegant scrolls at the termini of the cross, this elegant Crucifix would have pleased such courtly clientele.
From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist workshop of Miseroni, Italian, 16th century
  • Crucifix
Date late 16th century
Medium Rock crystal, gold and enamel
Dimensions Overall: 11 7/8 × 7 1/2 × 3 5/8 inches (30.2 × 19.1 × 9.2 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, Joseph M. de Grimme Memorial Fund; with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Richard Brodie, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Fuller; and gifts from Anna Thompson Dodge, Eleanor Clay Ford, Mr. and Mrs. Kaye G. Frank, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar B. Whitcomb, Bernard Savage Reilly, and Mr. and Mrs. Isadore Levin by exchange
Accession Number 2004.28
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View European: Medieval and Renaissance W231, Level 2 (see map)
by 1950s, Blumka family (Vienna, Austria and New York, New York, USA);
2004-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA);
Darr, Alan. P. and Brian Gallagher. "Recent acquisitions (2000-2006) of European sculpture and decorative arts at The Detroit Institute of Arts." The Burlington Magazine 149, no. 1251 (June 2007): p. 450, pl. III (ill.).