Monstrance of Enrichetta d’Este

The precious monstrance gifted by Enrichetta of Este: a masterpiece of the Diocesan Museum

  • embossed, chiseled silver with gold details, diamonds, rubies and colored crystals
  • 18th century
  • Franz Anton Gutwein, Augsburg, 1729-1805


The monstrance for the Eucharist is a Catholic liturgical object used to expose the holy Host during ceremonies and processions. Because of its sacredness and ritual importance it was very finely decorated.

In 1776 Enrichetta d’Este gifted a precious monstrance to St. Donnino’s Cathedral as a sign of her devotion to the martyr. The monstrance was made by Franz Anton Gutwein, one of the most famous goldsmiths at that time. It is made in embossed silver with gold details and it presents a glass lunette for the holy Host, surrounded by 58 diamonds and 16 rubies.

The base is decorated with the arms of the Este and Darmstadt families.

This work of art was kept untarnished. It is now on display in the Diocesan Museum.


Enrichetta d’Este: Enrichetta was born in 1702 in the Ducal Palace of Modena. She was the daughter of Duke Rinaldo d’Este. In 1728 she married Antonio Farnese, duke of Parma and Piacenza. After his death she married Leopoldo Assia-Darmstadt in 1740 and moved to Borgo San Donnino. She died in 1777 and was buried in the convent of the Capuchins in Fidenza.


Antonio Farnese: The last Farnese duke of Parma and Piacenza, he was born on 29th December 1673 and married Enrichetta in 1728; his reign only lasted 4 years: he died at the age of 52 in 1731.


Farnese Dinasty: A famous family of Longobard origins which ruled on Parma and Piacenza from 1545 to 1731.


Leopoldo d’Assia-Darmstadt (1764– 1764): In 1740 he married Enrichetta  d’Este. After his death his territories were given to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.


Embossment: A technique used on gold, copper or leather to obtain relief decorations.