A large and important inlaid panel depicting scenes from the life of St. Benedict
Inlaid with tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, ivory, and tin, in an ormolu-mounted ebony frame. Depicting the poison miracle of St. Benedict between two further unidentified scenes from his life in an architectural background and surrounded by a cartouche entwined with flowering tendrils. To the centre of the lower edge a Prince Bishop's coat of arms with a heraldic rose. Some parts of the veneer replaced. With frame 70.8 x 98.2 cm.
Probably South German or Alpine, mid-18th C.
Expertise by Alvar González-Palacios, February 2016
The origin of this piece remains a mystery to this day, but it is presumed to have originally been integrated into a scheme of decorative wall panelling. The depiction indicates that it once decorated a German Bendictine abbey, perhaps one with Imperial Immediacy. Equally little is known about the workshop in which the piece was made. Certain stylistic parallels can be drawn to some of the furniture made by Heinrich Wilhelm Spindler in Potsdam, especially the so-called "Parrot Commode" made for Frederick II's study in the Neues Palais, and the commode with the three graces in the upper concerto room of this palace. However, there exists no documentary evidence to suggest that Spindler ever carried out larger commissions outside the courts of Berlin and Potsdam.
Thanks to the information given to us by Dr. Konrad Koppe, we now know that this panel was made for the abbot of the cloister Sankt Matthias in Trier, Modestus Mannheim. We found his engraved monogram M.A.M.M. beside his crest.