Chess Set
Date 1985
Artist:Gianni Toso, Italian, b. 1942
Dimensions Overall: 24 1/2 in. (62.2 cm)
Medium Lampworked glass figures with cut and assembled glass board
Credit Line Museum purchase and partial gift of Dylan, Max, Jessica, and Leyla Sandler; Fran and Lenox Baker; Allan Hugh McKinley and Jean Ritter Winslow; Albert and Robbie Selkin; Dr. and Mrs. Edward C. Oldfield III; and the Chrysler Museum Glass Associates.
Description This sculpture is in the form of a 32-figure chess set with Catholic and Orthodox Jewish imagery. White is represented by Catholic clergy, a nun and monks: the king is an archbishop with one hand holding a shepherd's crook and the other raised in a gesture of blessing; the queen is a nun; the bishops carry red and yellow crosses over their shoulders as though marching in a religious procession; the knights carry censers; the rooks each hold a staff surmounted by a votive candle, and the pawns each carry hand-held candles. Black is represented by Orthodox Jewish figures: the king is a rabbi reading from a book of the law; the queen, the rabbi's wife holds Sabbath candles; the bishops dance with Torah scrolls; the knights sound the shofar (a ram's horn); the rooks each hold a lulav (a bundle of palm, willow, and myrtle branches) and a citron; the pawns are each different, one holds a kiddish cup, another has performed a circumcision, and the rest represent festivals. Hebrew inscriptions are cold-enameled on the scrolls, etc.
Published ReferencesJeff Harrison, _Collecting with Vision: Treasures From the Chrysler Museum of Art_ (London: D. Giles Ltd., 2007), 146, fig. 185. ISBN: 978-0-940744-72-1
Inscriptions hot-stamped with"Toso" and signed "G. Toso 85" in diamond-point
Current Location Chrysler Museum of Art, Gallery 117, Study Gallery Case 7
Object Label Gianni Toso Italian (b. 1942) Chess Set, 1985 Lampworked glass figures with cut and assembled glass board, 24 1/2 in. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA Museum purchase and partial gift of Dylan, Max, Jessica, and Leyla Sandler; Fran and Lenox Baker; Allan Hugh McKinley and Jean Ritter Winslow; Albert and Robbie Selkin; Dr. and Mrs. Edward C. Oldfield III; and the Chrysler Museum Glass Associates. 97.1 This lampworked tour de force brilliantly and good-naturedly depicts figures and symbols in the Catholic and Jewish faiths. Artsit Gianni Toso was raised in Venice in a home combining both Catholic and Jewish values amidst the artistic tradition on Venetian glass workers. According to Toso, "Each people in the family of mankind plays a different instrument in the orchestra of civilization contributing with its system of cultural values its own characteristics of tone, timber, and color to the total ensemble." The Jewish pawn at the center of the board holds a feather and a lantern used in the formal search for and removal of hametz (food containing leavening), which is done in preparation for Passover. Edited By: KML Edited Date: 02/13/2006
Object Number 97.1