Stoup (holy water basin), c. 1715

Holy (that is, blessed) Water is used in the Catholic Church in remembrance of the sacrament of Baptism, and for the apotropaic qualities (the power to ward off evil) ascribed to it. Holy Water stoups are most commonly found as pairs at the entrance of churches. These works are often carved in marble or may even encompass large, actual shells to contain the water. Silver Holy Water stoups, such as the one on view here, were extremely precious and were traditionally used in private homes. The glistening surface of the silver echoes and boosts the water’s reflective quality. It evokes an impression of dancing light and of purity, which is in line with the cleansing and apotropaic property attributed to the Holy Water.



Giovanni Giardini da Forli, Holy Water Stoup (#717)
Stoup (holy water basin)
Artist Life
Italian, 1646-1722
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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