Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To Each His Mask


A couple months ago, Jean Yates had a beautiful necklace on her blog featuring a gorgeous hand-painted Russian pendant from Artbeads.com. I'd never seen anything like that pendant, and I fell in love with it immediately.

Well, it turns out that Artbeads.com carries a huge, mouth-watering selection of these lovely pendants, including an interesting line that incorporates reproductions of artist masterpieces in miniature. I loved all of these latter, but when I saw the above pendant in their catalog, I had to have it. (Please click on the photo, if you would like a closer look.)

My background is in the English Renaissance, not the Northern Renaissance, but to be honest, I love everything about this period in history, and this piece really speaks to me. Apparently, the original sits in the Uffizi Gallery and is attributed to the Florentine painter, Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio. It is part of a sleeve that covers a more conventional portrait of a lady. The inscription "sua cuique persona" translates into English as "to each his own mask". This enigmatic construction of the piece and the inscription (which I believe may come from Seneca, but I'm not absolutely sure) is often used to illustrate how people of the Renaissance viewed issues of identity.

I adore the fact that a Russian artist turned this old masterpiece into an equally enigmatic piece for adornment - it seems quite appropriate. My original concept for a necklace with the pendant actually involved stringing it with starkly contrasting white quartz. However, while rooting through my supplies, I came across a handful of tiny drilled shells that complemented the tone of the mask design beautifully, so I immediately chucked my first concept (which I still think would work well), in favor of the shells. I added small brass bells which create a gentle jingle when the wearer moves, matte black onyx, olive jade, Swarovski crystal and copper seed beads to finish the piece. Here's a shot of the full necklace.


These pendants are simply wonderful. Mine is much more beautiful in person than in the photographs - the lacquer finish adds a lovely shine to the piece and makes it very satisfying to touch. I currently have four more of these pendants on my wish list (here's one, if you are interested) that I hope to acquire over time.

Artbeads.com was a great find (thanks, Jean!), and I look forward to using their beads in the future. I recommend visiting the site to peruse their extensive selection of jewelry supplies.

Thanks for stopping by!

13 comments:

Margot Potter said...

Absolutely exquisite! I love those hand painted Russian beads, I had a few in my second book. They're miniature masterpieces. ArtBeads has such a great selection!

Thanks for sharing this beautiful design.

Cheers,
Madge

Andrew Thornton said...

What a lovely necklace! You've really inspired me. I'm definitely going to have to go to Artbeads.com right now and get one!

Tammy Powley said...

This whole piece is gorgeous. I clicked on the pics so I could get an "up close" view. I like how you added the green and there's a touch of green in the shell pieces, but of course,the star is that very cool pendant.

Jean said...

Oh Melissa I love what you did!!! You chose the other pendant which called to me, yet what you did with it is unmistakeably Melissa J. Lee--impeccably stunning and fabulous! I say, WOW!
jean ! xox

*melanie* earthenwood studio said...

ooh, that is a gorgeous pendant, and I love what you did with it! The shells are just beautiful! As an art history buff, these pendants from ArtBeads have a lot of appeal to me... particularly the Art Nouveau pendants.

Nice work, as always, Melissa! Thanks for sharing

TesoriTrovati said...

This post was delightful...a treat for the eyes! I loved reading your descriptions and the art history and your design is exquisite. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself. I have seen those before but never dared order them...now I won't hesitate! Enjoy the day! Erin

Linda said...

Beautifully sophisticated! The pendant is amazing and your conversion of it into the necklace only improves it!

Christina J. said...

This is so beautiful!!

Rosanne said...

What a beautiful piece. I love those Russian pendants, and you added the perfect beads.

Barbe Saint John/ Saints and Sinners® said...

GORGEOUS!!! I love those handpainted pendants, and this is so fantastic! I would feel like a grand Tzarina wearing this necklace.

Gonna go over to Artbeads and check them out right now.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for your kind comments!

SuzyQ said...

Hi Melissa,
This is an absolutely gorgeous design with a beautiful pendant!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thank you so much, Susan!