Active in Turin at the beginning of the 19th century, Pacifico Levi was one of eleven Jewish metalworkers admitted to the guild of goldsmiths in 1818 during the reign of the Savoy family. Levi adopted a recognizable mark that depicts a hand holding a pouring pitcher. His work, includes a Kiddush Goblet (North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleign), flatware (Castello Sforzesco in Milan), and a Goblet (Israel Museum, Jerusalem).
This Passover Seder Plate, on display at Mia in Minneapolis, typifies Levi’s oeuvre. The repoussé ornamentation combines neoclassical and rococo motifs popular at the time. The lack of “overt” religious symbolism made the plate suitable for both Jewish and Christian patrons and appropriate for ceremonial and every-day use.
References: Passover Seder Plate; Mann, Vivian B. Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy (1989).
Pacifico Levi. Passover Seder Plate (1812-22), silver, 1 ¾ x 25 ¾ x 25 3/4″. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. (Photo credit: Jennifer D. Webb)
Further reading: Shelley Perlove. “Judaism and the Arts of Early Modern Europe.” A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art. Edited by Babette Bohn and James M. Saslow. Oxford: John Wiley and Sons, 2013; Getty Museum. The Making of a Roman Silver Cup.
Posted by Jennifer D. Webb