Plate depicting the Annu...

Forge work


Plate depicting the Annunciation with the mystic hunt of the unicorn

16th century
Brass embossed, engraved and struck
4.5 x Ø38.6 cm
From Vic (Osona)
MEV 3620

This is another of the thousands of the German 'dinanderies' (Nuremberg) conserved in Western Europe, which points to mass-production, beginning in about 1500. This piece comes from Vic itself. Surrounded by an epigraphic border, it centres upon a theme repeated quite a lot in this production, although not as much as others. It is the Annunciation mixed with a complementary theme: the mystic hunt of the unicorn, developed preferably in German art around the year 1500. The Archangel Gabriel is pursuing a unicorn, blowing his hunting horn, helped by his pack of four hounds, which symbolise 'Iustitia', 'Misericordia', 'Pax' and 'Veritas'. The imaginary animal takes refuge in the Virgin's lap, as, according to the bestiaries, the unicorn, terribly ferocious, will only allow itself to be touched by the hands of virgins. Here the unicorn personifies Christ, pointing with its horn to Mary's virginal womb: this, together with the appearance of the Holy Ghost, indicates the exact moment of the Incarnation. Therefore, it is a biblical-symbolic visualisation of the Annunciation and the Incarnation, which are virtually simultaneous. In painting, this theme of the Annunciation hunt allows for a great development of symbolic elements that here have 'per force' to be elliptical, although the “Turris Eburnea” (ivory tower), the Virgin's epithet, is also shown.

18 Leather
19 Gold, Silver and Metalworking Arts
20 Forge Work
21 Ceramics
22 Study Galleries