A Small Collection of Renaissance and Baroque Silver Drinking Vessels
“Beauty perishes in life, but is immortal in art” – Leonardo da Vinci
The connection between art and the fragility of life to which Da Vinci is referring may explain why from the very earliest of times, the makers of drinking cups and related vessels instinctively decorated them. By the Renaissance period, their craftsmanship had reached a level of refinement that such items almost ceased to be functional and came to be regarded as art objects. The status of their creators was elevated from artisans to artists.
The sharing of drink is an act of friendship and of community. Some types of drinking vessels, such as Bernegals and Bratina, were designed specifically for the purpose of their contents being shared.
The use of silver in drinking culture also dates back to the earliest of times. Its antibacterial quality was recognized and, being a relatively easy material to work, made it ideal for the purpose. Whilst the more substantial and magnificent pieces were the domain of the elite, smaller vessels such as beakers were more easily within the budget of modest families.
With the aim of illustrating these points, we present a small collection of various types and styles of silver drinking vessels from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.