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Valeri Timofeev

Chalice
1995
silver, gold plate and foil, garnets, pearls, turquoise, hematite, tiger's eye, filigree wire, and plique-á-jour enamels
7 5/8 x 6 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance

Plique-á-jour is an enameling technique that involves suspending a delicate layer of colored glass between the openings of a wire framework to create a beautiful translucence. Valeri Timofeev's plique-á-jour is unsurpassed for its artistic brilliance and technical skill. Conjuring images of royal ceremonies and sacred Eastern Orthodox rituals, his chalice embodies the dignity, beauty, and opulence of a state treasure and the grandeur of a sacred artifact. Glittering with gold and semiprecious gemstones and bursting with color as light shines through the glass, it is a timeless work of art that serves as an intermediating force between heaven and earth.