The Behaim Beaker

Notice of Upcoming Content and Access Change

The Museum is working on the future of our online collections access, which will be incrementally released over time. On November 1, 2022, “My Collection” sets will be discontinued and no longer available. If you have “My Collection” sets you wish to preserve, we encourage you to print the sets, save as a PDF, or otherwise make your own copies of important information for your future reference.

What is AAT?

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) (r) is a structured vocabulary for generic concepts related to art and architecture. It was developed by The Getty Research Institute to help research institutions become consistent in the terminology they use.Learn More

Object Name: 
The Behaim Beaker
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 10.7 cm; Rim Diam: 7.8 cm; Foot Diam: 6.4 cm
On Display
probably 1495
Credit Line: 
Purchased with funds from the Museum Endowment Fund
Web Description: 
The Behaim Beaker is a fine example of Venetian cristallo, and it demonstrates how glass from Venice commanded attention abroad. The beaker bears a coat of arms and two panels, each of which contains a figure. The coat of arms belongs to the Behaim family of Nuremberg. One panel depicts the archangel Michael killing a dragon; the other shows Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The unusual combination of Michael and Catherine requires an explanation. It is thought that the beaker was made for the wedding, on July 7, 1495, of a Nuremberg patrician, Michael Behaim, and Katerina Lochnerin, the daughter of a rich merchant whose firm controlled trade between Nuremberg and Venice. If this explanation is correct, the Behaim Beaker is an outstanding illustration of fine Venetian glassware custom-made for export to Germany. It also demonstrates two of the features of Venetian glass that attracted widespread attention: the excellence of cristallo and the brilliance of the gilded and enameled ornament. The Behaim Beaker appears to be the earliest Venetian gilded and enameled glass that can be dated precisely.
Biemann, Fritz, Former Collection
von Hirsch, Robert, Former Collection
Primary Description: 
Behaim Beaker. Colorless. Blown; enameled, gilded. Beaker: barrel shaped, with fire-polished rim; integral foot with articulated foot-ring and pontil mark. Below rim, gilded band with scratched design of scales, with rounded side up, between lines and denticular frieze below. Light blue dots adorn scales, red dots decorate denticular frieze, and dense row of white dots and scattered row of blue dots appear below gilding. Above foot, gilded band is scratched into circlets that hold, alternately, blue dot and red dot. Between bands, continuous green ground with black sprigs and white enamel dots; three gold trees, with green and blue enamel dots enlivened with white enamel dots, subdivide surface for large coat of arms and two cusped white and yellow frames with representations of archangel Michael and Saint Catherine. Targe per pale of gules and argent, overall a bend wavy sinister sable; crest a bird argent, gorged with crown sable; helmet mantlings red, lined with white.
Renaissance Venice: Life and Luxury at the Crossroads
Gardiner Museum 2021-10-14 through 2022-01-09
Renaissance Venice was a multicultural metropolis where migration and mobility shaped the daily lives of its inhabitants. Its position at the crossroads of trade routes linking Europe to the Islamic World brought a continuous flow of commodities like pigments, spices, and luxury objects. In the homes of Venetians, these imported goods complemented locally-made products like maiolica, or tin-glazed earthenware. Renaissance Venice: Life and Luxury at the Crossroads recreates a sensory world of objects, foregrounding visual conversations across cultures as well as artisan trades as they took shape through the manipulation of materials, form, colour, and ornament. Featuring works ranging from Chinese porcelain and Islamic metalware to Venetian textiles and glass, this exhibition explores how objects connected cultures and geographies during the Renaissance. It questions the role of objects and images in stimulating significant forms of encounter, and more specifically, the role of ceramics in encapsulating cultural exchanges and intersections. This dynamic web of relationships forms the backdrop for the story of Venice’s maiolica industry as it developed throughout the 1500s. Key to its success was the influx of migrant artisans from other parts of the Italian peninsula, privileged access to materials, and vibrant market demand. At the forefront are the lived experiences of people across the social spectrum, from the makers of objects to the wealthy elites. Visitors are invited to step into the workshop of the potter-entrepreneur and engage in a counter-narrative that seeks to recover the experiences of Renaissance women from different walks of life. A global city in constant movement, Renaissance Venice parallels our own lives in many ways. Works by contemporary artists Lindsay Montgomery, Dorie Millerson, and Nadia Myre expand upon the connections between the present and the legacies of the past. Each brings a feminist critique that focuses, respectively, on story-telling traditions, domestic labour and exploitation, and Venice’s symbolic connection to the Americas and Indigenous Peoples through printed publications. Renaissance Venice: Life and Luxury at the Crossroads features over 110 objects including ceramic, glass, metalware, printed books, lace, velvets, carpets, painting, and prints. Participating lenders include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Corning Museum of Glass, The Royal Ontario Museum, the Aga Khan Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Bata Shoe Museum. The exhibition is accompanied by catalogue published by Hirmer Art Publishers.
Corning Museum of Glass
Changing Exhibitions Gallery
Art and Love in Renaissance Italy
Metropolitan Museum of Art 2008-11-17 through 2009-02-15
Kimbell Art Museum 2009-03-15 through 2009-06-14
Corning Museum of Glass 2004-05-13 through 2004-10-17
The Art of Glass: Masterpieces from The Corning Museum of Glass
IBM Gallery 1989-12-12 through 1990-02-02
National Gallery of Art 1990-12-09 through 1991-04-14
Decorative and utilitarian works from the Corning Museum of Glass, surveying 35 centuries of glass-making technology and stylistic developments from ancient Egyptian, Roman, Islamic, and Asian cultures to contemporary American and European examples. The works were selected by Corning Museum staff members Dwight P. Lanmon, director and curator of European glass; David B. Whitehouse, curator of ancient and Islamic glass; Jane Shadel Spillman, curator of American glass; and Susanne K. Frantz, curator of 20th-century glass.
Maiolica in Renaissance Venice: Ceramics and Luxury at the Crossroads (2021) illustrated, p. 57;
The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian-Style Glassworking (2019) illustrated, Introduction fig. 11; BIB# 716365
Chihuly: New York Botanical Garden (2017) illustrated, p. 67 (fig. 22); BIB# 169684
Through the Looking Glass: A Set of Table Goblets at Palazzo Falson, Mdina (2015) illustrated, p. 49; fig. 6, 7; BIB# AI101298
Glass: A Short History (Smithsonian Books edition) (2012) illustrated, pp. 64-65; BIB# 130360
Glass: A Short History (The British Museum edition) (2012) illustrated, pp. 64-65; BIB# 135965
Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes, and Peasants (2010) illustrated, pp. 242-243, #121; BIB# 115588
Richard La Londe and Friends (2009) illustrated, p. 29, right; BIB# 112312
Art and Love in Renaissance Italy (2008) illustrated, p. 96, cat. 28, view 1 & 2, Fig. 61; BIB# 106342
European Glass in the Venetian Style 1500-1750 (2004-08) illustrated, p. 71; BIB# AI63553
Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style, 1500-1750 (2004) illustrated, preface, fig. 1; BIB# 79761
Erinnerungen eines Glassammlers und vieles mehr (2003) illustrated, pp. 76-78; BIB# 76551
Painting on Glass: Contemporary Designs, Simple Techniques (2000) illustrated, p. 7, top; BIB# 133926
Wedding Traditions: Here Comes the Bride (1997) illustrated, p. 2; BIB# 159842
The Art of Glass: Masterpieces from the Corning Museum of Glass (1990-01-19) illustrated, p. 1 (bottom left); BIB# AI23824
The Art of Glass: Masterpieces from the Corning Museum (1990-01) illustrated, p. 24 (left); BIB# AI24626
L'Histoire du Verre: A Travers Les Tresors du Musee de Corning (1990) illustrated, p. 60;
Recent Important Acquisitions, 27 (1985) illustrated, p. 98, #5; BIB# AI15253
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 1984 (1985) illustrated, cover; p. 6; BIB# AI96385
Mille Anni di Arte del Vetro a Venezia (1982) pp. 88-89, #82;
Recent Important Acquisitions, 21 (1979) illustrated, cover, frontispiece; BIB# AI98081
The Robert von Hirsch Collection, volume 2: Works of Art (1978-06-22) #258, pp. 80-81; BIB# 17644
Title Unknown (Weltkunst) (1978-05-15) p. 1193;