Netherlandish Gothic chandeliers can be divided in two distinct types, the tabernacle and the spindle variant. Tabernacle chandeliers, an important example of which was sold at Sotheby's London on 10 July 2014, lot 51, include a figure mounted at the centre surrounded by a Gothic turret with tracery decoration. The present chandelier is of the spindle type, surmounted by a figure and including two tiers of eight arms. Centered by a turned column, the whole is supported by an interior iron rod. The chandelier terminates in a tapering, crocketed pinnacle with a hexagonal knop in the form of a lion's mask. The upper section is centered with a figure of the Virgin and Child within an aureole and atop the crescent moon. A chandelier with an identical construction but with an angel rather than the Virgin and Child is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and is there dated between 1480 and 1520 (inv. no. 2398-1855). The central statuette of the Immaculate Virgin is identical to late 15th century Netherlandish metalwork (see O. ter Keile, Koper & Brons, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, nos. 172 and 173).
According to Lockner (op. cit.) chandeliers were often given as wedding gifts or for the glorification of God when they were placed in churches. In 1495, the German traveller Jerome Munzer described seeing over four hundred chandeliers of differing sizes in the Antwerp Cathedral; the sight must have been spectacular. Most often found in the Low Countries, the attribution of this type of chandelier to the Netherlands is substantiated by their presence in Netherlandish paintings, like the aforementioned painting by Christus.
Together with Nuremberg, Dinant was the foremost centre for metalwork in the 15th century. The town, situated on the river Meuse in modern Belgium, was famed for its brass ware, termed dinanderie. Significantly, in 1466, many of the town's craftsmen were forced to flee to cities like Nuremberg, when it was sacked by Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy. Objects made in Nuremberg thenceforth in the Dinant style, are also referred to as dinanderie.
E. Meyer, 'Der gotische Kronleuchter in Stans', Festschrift Hans R. Hahnloser, 1961, pp. 151-184
H. P. Lockner, 'Ein gotischer Tabernakelkronleuchter. Aufbau und Konstruktion', Kunst und Antiquitäten. Zeitschrift für Kunstfeunde, Sammler und Museen, 1982, pp. 47-57, no. 5
O. ter Kuile, Koper en Brons, cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1986, pp. 122-125, 150-151, nos. 170-172, 197-199
N. Netzer, Catalogue of Medieval Objects. Metalwork, cat. Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, 1991, pp. 128-129, no. 44
P. Barnet and P. Dandridge, Lions, Dragons, and other Beasts. Aquamanilia of the Middle Ages, Vessels for Church and Table, exh. cat. Bard Graduate Center, New Haven and London, 2006, pp. 142-143, no. 20
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