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Dish

Dish

  • Place of origin:

    Urbino (made)

  • Date:

    about 1573-74 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fontana Workshop (made)
    Fontana, Flaminio (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware, moulded and painted in colours

  • Museum number:

    8898-1863

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 42, shelf 5

Dishes on a low foot, with moulded ribs and a wavy edge, were intended for serving fruits, nuts and vegetables. The type is sometimes described as fruttiere or 'da frutti' [for fruit] in contemporary sources. Some 'trompe-l'oeil' [trick the eye] versions are known, where the fruit and vegetables are made of tin-glazed earthenware and form an integral part of the dish. Moulded as lifelike as possible these were intended to trick the eye of the beholder into thinking the dish contained real edible treats.
The distinctive decoration of this dish, composed of small loosely connected motifs including human figures, animals and fantasy figures is called 'Grotesque'. It was first introduced by the painter Raphael in his decoration of the Vatican Palace in Rome (1518-19). It was derived from ancient Roman decorations from the Golden House of the emperor Nero (ruled 54-68 AD) on the Esquiline hill in Rome, which came to light during this period.
During the second half of the 16th century, the potters of Urbino specialised in a refined style of decoration incorporating elaborate grotesques on a white ground.
The central male figure is probably derived from a print illustrating Orpheus or Apollo holding a lyre, but in this version his instrument is replaced by a jug.

Physical description

Moulded maiolica dish on low foot, with painted grotesque decorations and central medallion depicting a seated youth with a ewer. The back is decorated with concentric yellow circles.

Place of Origin

Urbino (made)

Date

about 1573-74 (made)

Artist/maker

Fontana Workshop (made)
Fontana, Flaminio (made)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware, moulded and painted in colours

Dimensions

Diameter: 27 cm

Object history note

Soulages collection

Historical context note

Dishes on a low foot, with moulded ribs and a wavy edge, were intended for serving fruits, nuts and vegetables. The type is sometimes described as fruttiere or 'da frutti' [for fruit] in contemporary sources. Some 'trompe-l'oeil' [trick the eye] versions are known, where the fruit and vegetables are made of tin-glazed earthenware and form an integral part of the dish. Moulded as lifelike as possible these were intended to trick the eye of the beholder into thinking the dish contained real edible treats.
The typical decoration of this dish, composed of small loosely connected motifs including human figures, animals and fantasy figures is called 'Grotesque'. It was first introduced by the painter Raphael in his decoration of the Vatican Palace in Rome (1518-19). It was derived from ancient Roman decorations from the Golden House of the emperor Nero (ruled 54-68 AD) on the Esquiline hill in Rome, which came to light during this period.
During the second half of the 16th century, the potters of Urbino specialised in a refined style of decoration incorporating elaborate grotesques on a white ground. Their main pictorial source of inspiration were the etchings by Jacques Androuet I Ducerceau, which were published in 1550, and again in 1562 under the name 'Petites Grotesques'.

Descriptive line

Moulded maiolica dish on low foot, with painted grotesque decorations and central medallion

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Spallanzani M., 'Maioliche di Urbino nelle collezzione di Cosimo I, del Cardinale Ferdinando e di Francesco I de'Medici', in: Faenza LXV (1979), no 4, pp. 111-126, tav. XXXIa
Poke, C., 'Jacques Androuet I Ducerceau's 'Petites Grotesques' as a source for Urbino maiolica decoration', The Burlington Magazine, June 2001, p. 335, note 18
A.V.B. Norman, Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Ceramics I: Pottery, Maiolica, Faience, Stoneware, London 1976, cat C107, pp. 218-223

Materials

Tin-glazed earthenware

Techniques

Moulded; Painted

Categories

Maiolica; Ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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