Renaissance Gold Ring
The imagery of two dogs, facing each other and evidently sharing a piece of wood or a bone suggests the idea of fidelity, either in friendship or love. This ring is typical of a class of Italian and German Renaissance rings, usually enameled, representing animals in three dimensions on their bezels--dogs, stags, bears, unicorns, etc. For a particularly fine example of an enameled stag see the Marilyn Alsdorf collection in the Art Institute of Chicago (inv. 1992.500, published in Wardropper, 2000, Museum Studies, 25, 2000, no. 20). Rings with such animals are found in southern Germany as well as in Italy during the middle of the sixteenth century.
Thin circular hoop, soldered with a second hoop sculpted in three-dimensions (in ronde-bosse) to represent two small dogs facing each other on the bezel; they appear to be sharing a single wood stick or perhaps a bone held in their mouths; traces of white enamel on the dogs and of black enamel on the hoop; shoulders are decorated with engraved geometrical motives. Original enamel almost completely missing; else in very good condition.
For comparisons, see Alice and Louis Koch Collection, nos. 23,26; 23,36; and 23,28 (16th-century Italian rings with bezel made of small enameled high-relief dogs, published in Chadour, 1994, nos. 670; 671 and 672); see also Cologne, Kunstgewerbemuseum, inv. nr. G 984 CL. (c. 1550, Italian ring set with a dog, published in Chadour and Joppien, 1985, no. 241).