EUROPEAN BRASS AND BRONZE This article is not concerned with sculpture in bronze, but rather with the many artistic applications of the metal in connection with architecture, or with objects for ecclesiastical and domestic use. Why bronze was preferred in Italy, iron in Spain and Ger many and brass in the Low Countries cannot be satisfactorily determined; national temperament is impressed on the choice of metals and also on the methods of working them. Centres of artistic energy shift from one place to another owing to wars, con quests or migrations.
Leaving alone remote antiquity and starting with imperial Rome, the working of bronze, inspired probably by conquered Greece, is clearly seen. There are ancient bronze doors in the Temple of Romulus in the Forum ; others from the baths of Cara calla are in the Lateran church, which also contains four fine gilt bfonze fluted columns of the Corinthian order. The Naples mu seum contains a large collection of domestic utensils of bronze, recovered from the buried towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which show a high degree of perfection in the working of the metal, as well as a wide application of its use. A number of moor ings in the form of finely-modelled animal heads, made in the i st century A.D., and recovered from Lake Nemi in the Alban hills some years ago, show a further acquaintance with the skilful working of this metal. The chair of Dagobert in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, appears to be a Roman bronze curule chair, with back and part of the arms added by the abbot Suger in the i 2th century.
Byzantium, from the time when Constantine made it the seat of empire, in the early part of the 4th century, was for i,000 years renowned for its work in metal. Its position as a trade centre between East and West attracted all the finest work provided by the artistic skill of craftsmen from Syria, Egypt, Persia, Asia Minor and the northern shores of the Black sea, and for 400 years, until the beginning of the Iconoclastic period in the first half of the 8th century, its output was enormous. Several Italian churches still retain bronze doors cast in Constantinople in the later days of the Eastern empire, such as those presented by the members of the Pantaleone family, in the latter half of the II th century, to the churches at Amalfi, Monte Cassino, Atrani and Monte Gargano. Similar doors are at Salerno; and St. Mark's, Venice, also has doors of Greek origin.
The period of the Iconoclasts fortunately synchronized with the reign of Charlemagne, whose power was felt throughout western Europe. The craftsmen who were forced to leave Byzan tium were welcomed by him in his capitals of Cologne and Aix la-Chapelle and their influence was also felt in France. Another stream passed by way of the Mediterranean to Italy, where the old classical art had decayed owing to the many national calami ties, and here it brought about a revival. In the Rhineland the terms "Rhenish-Byzantine" and "Romanesque," applied to archi tecture and works of art generally, testify to the provenance of the style of this and the succeeding period. The bronze doors of the cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle are of classic design and date probably from Charlemagne's time. All through the Middle Ages the use of bronze continued on a great scale, particularly in the r and 12th centuries. Bernward, bishop of Hildesheim, a great patron of the arts, had bronze doors made for St. Nicholas' church (afterwards removed to the cathedral) which were set up in 1o15 ; great doors were made for Augsburg somewhere between r o6o and 1065, and for Mainz shortly after the year r 000. A prominent feature on several of these doors is seen in finely-modelled lion heads, with conventional manes and with rings hanging from their jaws. These have their counterpart in France and Scandinavia as well as in England, where they are represented by the so-called sanctuary knocker at Durham cathedral. Provision of elaborate tomb monuments and of church furniture gave much work to the German founder, the former largely in the nature of sculpture. Mention may be made of the seven-branch candlestick at Essen cathedral made for the abbess Matilda about the year i000, and another at Brunswick completed in 1223 ; also of the remarkable font of the 13th century made for Hildesheim cathedral at the charge of Wilbernus, a canon of the cathedral. Other fonts are found at Brandenburg and Wurzburg. Of smaller objects such as ewers, holy-water vessels, reliquaries and candelabra, a vast num ber were produced. Most of the finest work of the 15th century was executed for the Church. The end of the Gothic period in Germany found the great craftsman, Peter Vischer of Nuremberg, and his sons, working on the bronze shrine to contain the reliquary of St. Sebald, a finely-conceived monument of architectural form, with rich details of ornament and figures; among the latter ap pearing the artist in his working dress. The shrine was completed and set up in the year 1516. This great craftsman executed other great works at Magdeburg, Romhild and Breslau. Reference should be made to the colossal monument at Innsbruck, the tomb of the emperor Maximilian I., with its 28 bronze statues of more than life size. Large fountains in which bronze was freely em ployed were set up, such as those at Munich and Augsburg. The tendency was to use this metal for large works of an architectural or sculpturesque nature; while at the same time smaller objects were produced for domestic purposes.
Italy.—By the 12th century the Italian craftsmen had devel oped a style of their own, as may be seen in the bronze doors of S. Zeno, Verona (which are made of hammered and not cast bronze), Ravello, Trani and Monreale. Bonnano da Pisa made a series of doors for the duomo of that city, one pair of which remains. The 14th century witnessed the birth of a great revival in the working of bronze, which was destined to flourish for at least four centuries. Bronze was the metal beloved of the Italian craftsman ; in that metal he produced objects for every conceiva ble purpose, great or small, from a door-knob to the mighty doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti at Florence, of which Michael Angelo re marked that they would stand well at the gates of Paradise. Niccolo, Giovanni and Andrea Pisano, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Dona tello, Verrocchio, Cellini, Michael Angelo, Giovanni da Bologna— these and many others produced great works in bronze. Benedetto da Rovezzano came to England in 1524 to execute a tomb for Car dinal Wolsey, part of which, after many vicissitudes, is now in the crypt of St. Paul's cathedral. Pietro Torregiano of Florence exe cuted the tomb of Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey. Alessandro Leopardi, at the beginning of the 16th century, completed the three admirable sockets for flag-staffs which still adorn the piazza of St. Mark's, Venice. A further development showed itself in the production of portrait medals in bronze, which reached a high degree of perfection and engaged the attention of many celebrated artists. Bronze plaquettes for the decoration of large objects ex hibit a fine sense of design and composition. Of smaller objects, for church and domestic use, the number was legion. Among the former may be mentioned crucifixes, shrines, altar and paschal candlesticks, such as the elaborate examples at the Certosa, Pavia; for secular use, mortars, inkstands, candlesticks and a large num ber of splendid door-knockers and handles, all executed with con summate skill and perfection of finish. Work of this kind con tinued to be made throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.
France.—Wars and internal troubles must account for the dis appearance of work in bronze ; it is hardly likely that a nation with so many schools of fine craftsmen in the various metals could have failed to work in bronze. The great bronze seven-branched candlestick in Milan cathedral has a base and lower part decorated with intricately-designed ornament which is considered by many to be French work of the 13th century; the upper part with the branches was added in the second half of the 16th century. A por tion of a foot of a similar object, showing the same intricate deco ration, existed formerly at Reims, but was unfortunately destroyed during the World War.
In the 16th century the names of Germain Pilon and Jean Gou jon are sufficient evidence of the ability to work in bronze. A great outburst of artistic energy is seen from the beginning of the r 7th century, when works in ormolu or gilt bronze were produced in huge quantities. The craftsmanship is magnificent and of the highest quality, the designs at first refined and symmetrical; but later, under the influence of the rococo style, introduced in 1723, aiming only at gorgeous magnificence. It was all in keeping with the spirit of the age, and in their own sumptuous setting these fine candelabra, sconces, vases, clocks and rich mountings of furni ture are entirely harmonious. The "ciseleur" and the "fondeur," such as Gouthiere and Caffieri, associated themselves with the makers of fine furniture and of delicate Sevres porcelain, the result being extreme richness and handsome effect. The style was suc ceeded after the Revolution by a stiff, classical manner which, although having a charm of its own, lacks the life and freedom of earlier work. In London the styles may be studied in the Wallace collection, Manchester square, and at the Victoria and Albert museum, South Kensington ; in New York at the Metro politan museum.
In recent years bronze has to some extent replaced iron for railings, balconies and staircases, in connection with architecture; the style adopted is stiffly classical, which does not call for a very large amount of ornamentation, and the metal has the merit of pleasant appearance and considerable durability.
Holland, Norway and Sweden also produced chandeliers, many of great size: the 16th and 17th-century type is the well known "spider," large numbers of which were also made in England and still hang in many London and provincial churches. Holland also showed a great liking for hammered work, and produced a large number of lecterns, altar candlesticks and the like in that method. The large dishes embossed with Adam and Eve and similar sub jects are probably of Dutch origin. These differ considerably from the brass dishes in which the central subject—the Annun ciation, St. George, St. Christopher, the Agnus Dei, a mermaid or flowers—is surrounded by a band of letters, which frequently have no significance beyond that of ornamentation; the rims are stamped with a repeating pattern of small designs. This latter type of dish was probably the work of Nuremberg or Augsburg craftsmen, and it should be noticed that the whole of the orna ment is produced by hammering into dies or by the use of stamps; they are purely mechanical pieces.
Brass was widely used for smaller objects in churches and for domestic use. Flemish and German pictures show candlesticks, holy-water stoups, reflectors, censers and vessels for washing the hands as used in churches. The inventories of Church goods in England made at the time of the Reformation disclose a very large number of objects in latten which were probably made in the country. In general use was an attractive vessel known as the aquamanile ; this is a water-vessel usually in the form of a standing lion, with a spout projecting from his mouth; on the top of the head is an opening for filling the vessel, and a lizard-shaped handle joins the back of the head with the tail. Others are in the form of a horse or ram ; a few are in the form of a human bust, and some represent a mounted warrior. They were produced from the 12th to the i5th century. Of domestic objects the number *as legion : mortars, small candlesticks, warming pans, trivets, fenders; these date mainly from the 17th and i8th centuries, when brass ornamentation was also frequently applied to clock dials, large and small. Two English developments during the 17th century call for special notice. The first was an attempt to use enamel with brass, a difficult matter, as brass is a bad medium for enamel. A number of objects exist in the form of fire-dogs, candlesticks, plaques and vases, the body of which is of brass roughly cast with a design in relief ; the hollow spaces between the lines of the design are filled in with patches of white, black, blue or red enamel, with very pleasing result. The nearest analogy is found in the small enamelled brass plaques and icons produced in Russia in the 17th and i8th centuries. The second use of brass is found in a group of locks of intricate mechanism, the cases of which are of brass cast in openwork with a delicate pattern of scrollwork and bird forms sometimes engraved. A further devel opment shows solid brass cases covered with richly engraved de signs. The Victoria and Albert museum, London, contains a fine group of these locks; others are in situ at Hampton Court Palace and in country mansions.
During the i8th century brass was largely used in the produc tion of objects for domestic use; the manufacture of large hang ing chandeliers also continued, together with wall-sconces and other lighting apparatus. In the latter half of the 19th century there came an increasing demand for ecclesiastical work in Eng land; lecterns, alms dishes, processional crosses and altar furni ture were made of brass ; the designs were for the greater part adaptations of older work and without any great originality.
The earliest existing brass is that of Bishop Ysowilpe at Verden, in Germany, which dates from 1231 and is on the model of an incised stone, as if by an artist accustomed to work in that mate rial. In England the oldest example is at Stoke D'Abernon church, in Surrey, to the memory of Sir John D'Abernon, who died in 1277. Numerous brasses are to be found in Belgium, and some in France and Holland. Apart from their artistic attractiveness, these ornamental brasses are of the utmost value in faithfully depicting the costumes of the period, ecclesiastical, civil or mili tary ; they furnish also appropriate inscriptions in beautiful lettering.