Together with the altar of the Eucharistic chalice is – next to the paten – the most important facilities subject in the Catholic church. Both go well known back to the biblical accounts of the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples.
Ever since the 6th century of the chalice is decorated, prescribed canon law is for the “Vasa Sacra”, the sacred vessels, since the 9th century – at least for the cuppa – then gilded silver. Because in the conversion of wine into the Blood of Christ allowed this to come into contact only with the most precious materials.
Richly decorated, precious and rare is also the presumably hard days reserved chalice from the parish church of St. Maurice in Rottenburg am Neckar. The surface of the high-arched foot, the Nodus and Kuppaüberfang are covered with relief-like rocailles. It is the typical pattern of Rococo.
What the cup but so special, are the cartridges shaped plates of colored enamel with miniature-like depictions of saints. At the bottom are: Anthony of Padua, St. Francis of Assisi and Joseph Calasanz in the last Communion before his death – an extremely rare display of 1748 by Pope Benedict XIV beatified, Spanish founder of the Piarist (?).. Why this compilation? At least can say so much: all three one-that they came from wealthy, most noble parental homes and this for a life modeled after Jesus Christ (Imitation of Christ) left, all three were religious clerics. And the assortment is a combination of “proven”, traditional saints with in the time “current” Blessed.
The enamel plates in Kuppaüberfang offer more surprises: a saint with a halberd and a book, perhaps the Evangelist Matthew, who will probably stabbed in a simultaneous scene in the background surrounded by a crowd. The next email plate showing a saint in a prison with chained prisoners. This event applies to two medieval figures: on John of Matha (1154-1213), co-founder of the Trinitarian Order, who was canonized in 1694, and to Peter Nolasco (1182-1249), founder of Mercedarierorden; Petrus took place at the canonization in the Thirty Years’ War, 1628. Both share the liberation of Christians from Muslim dungeons – an exceptional presentation, especially on a chalice and without reference to a Eucharistic theme! Puzzles are also the third e-mail on board: two holy bishops in the midst of a vast landscape with ruin, both looking at the Trinity icon with the only indicated here biblical name of God YHWH. The attributes are in the combination of the two saints is not unique – the one holding a book under his arm, the other a dead snake in his left hand. If it is Patrick of Ireland and Germanus of Auxerre?
Whether the cup with this extraordinary saint program has been specially commissioned or bought as “finished,” we no longer know today. One thing is certain, at least the origin of the chalice. Due to its original pristine condition without damaging, improper re-gilding it can be brought “to speak” through the visible hallmarks. The cup comes from the Bavarian-Swabian town of Augsburg, which was a globally important center of book printing and publishing industries, and the goldsmith’s art for a long time.
After the hallmark at the foot of the chalice, the work can be dated relatively accurately in the years 1759-1761. The maker’s mark with the symbol “ITH” also reveals the manufacturer: Tobias Josef Herzebik. He comes from Petrowitz in Bohemia, was Catholic, was 1756 champion and married in the same year, 1788, he died. The discussed chalice is therefore an “early work” in the chalice immortalized master goldsmith Herzebik. Apparently, many treasures are not preserved from his workshop. They find themselves in houses of worship in some places in southern Germany, and increasingly in the inventory of the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln in Switzerland.