Petrus Christus: A goldsmith in his shop (1449)

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA)

A painting by the Flemish artist Petrus Christus (1410-1475). The painting shows the shop of a goldsmith. Behind the counter there is a couple who are buying a wedding ring (the ring is on the small hand-held scale). Notice also the convex mirror on the right and the reflection in it of 2 persons. Behind the goldsmith there is a counter with a wide array of jeweled, glass, metallic objects and also a piece of red coral. The shark teeth were considered protective objects as it was thought that they changed color when they touched poison. The bead with rubies and blood corals were considered protection against ulcers and ensured a a long and healthy life. The identities of the persons on the painting are not known although the goldsmith was previously identified as St. Eligius (the patron saint of goldsmiths) as the figure had a halo. After analysis, it was discovered that the halo was a later addition. This painting was probably ordered by the goldsmith's guild of Bruges and is dated to 1449.

we saw two walled shark teeth called the wall, which were considered to change color when baptized into poison for protection. The bead with rubies and blood corals had to swear and ensure a long and healthy life