Eastern Switzerland, 1596
30 × 20.5cm
Polychrome moulded and flashed glasses, etched in places, clear glass with bold application of yellow silver stain; in completely original condition
Welcome panels were very popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They were commissioned by a married couple to show their joy at the husband’s good fortune in returning from war, and were installed in the couple’s own home.
The husband here wears magnificent, red Swiss dress, with slashed breeches, black doublet, and cap with feather, and – as tokens of his military service – a gold chain around his neck, a Swiss dagger at his waist, a longsword, and a halbard in his left hand. His wife wears festive country garb, with an implement case and purse hanging from her belt, attributes indicating her rule of the household. This married couple, delighted at being reunited, gaze into each other’s eyes.
In the upper pane, the husband’s guild brothers greet him with a tall wine beaker full of wine, at a set table in the guild house.
The Bleulers and Bodmars are still flourishing as two of the city of Zurich’s leading families. The husband’s shield here seems to be a variant of the family’s arms, referring to the donor’s trade and his membership of the tailors’ guild.
An exquisite and particularly well-preserved panel.