ANONYMOUS ARTIST (Style of Sigmund Elsässer)
Heraldic Device with Personifications of Justice and Temperance (138 x 113 mm.)
Austria, Tyrol (?), c. 1550-1600
This charming illuminated heraldic device was probably created as a frontispiece to a book made for an Austrian noble. The unidentified coat of arms is composed of two rampant lions sable with a craggy mountain at center, surmounted by a lion or with hammer. The device is flanked by personifications of Justice (left) and Temperance (right) standing before empty niches on a raised platform with a neoclassical frieze. Above a rounded arch are two winged putti supporting the arms of the Archduke of Austria. The leaf is finished to a remarkably high degree, with shading and delicate washes of color. The neoclassical elements, rosy-cheeked figures, and washes of color are all comparable to the work of Sigmund Elsässer (d. 1587), court painter to Archduke Ferdinand II.