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Plateau

Plateau

  • Place of origin:

    Montelupo (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1516 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Painter of the Papal Procession (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware, painted

  • Museum number:

    8928-1863

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery, case 12

This plate was probably made to commemorate the visit of Leo X to Florence in 1516. The elephant, named Hanno, was given to the Pope by King Manoel of Portugal in 1514, although it never visited Florence, dying in Rome in 1516.
Leo X (born Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici in 1475, Pope 1513-1521) was noted for his extravagant tastes and love of pomp. A great patron of the Arts, Leo X drew to his Court such artists as Michelangelo and Raphael. The glory of his reign, however, was blighted by the spread of the Reformation and the incriminations of Martin Luther.
The depiction of contemporary historical events is rarely found on maiolica, rendering this a particularly interesting scene. Although the Pope's elephant did not make the journey to Florence, it had appeared in Papal processions in Rome. Rumours of the beast and the Pope's love of splendour and parade had obviously spread to Montelupo, and Leo X's visit to the city of his birth was no doubt a great occasion.

Physical description

Dish painted in blue, yellow, orange, copper green, dark red, manganese purple, and bluish black. Depicting Pope Leo X in procession. In the act of benediction, he is carried by bearers shoulder-high on a chair, wearing the papal tiara and cope. A band across the middle of the picture is formed by a cavalcade of cardinals and other ecclesiastics mounted on mules, in their hats and robes, followed by laymen and soldiers on horses, one of whom carries a gonfanon with the arms of the Medici; in front of them is an elephant with rider. In the foreground are halberdiers marching to the sound of a drum and pipe, with an ensign carrying the Medici flag, all of them in red, white and green striped livery.

Place of Origin

Montelupo (made)

Date

ca. 1516 (made)

Artist/maker

Painter of the Papal Procession (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware, painted

Marks and inscriptions

See Rackham, Bernard: Italian Maiolica. pl.49.( London: Faber and Faber, 1952). See John Steaman, 'The Florentine Estate of Leo X', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol XXXVIII, 1975, pp136-154, especially Appx II. The elephant is identified as 'Hanno', given to Leo in 1514 by the King of Portugal. The elephant never in fact visited Florence but died in Rome in 1516.

Dimensions

Diameter: 49.6 cm, Depth: 6.3 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Soulages collection

Historical significance: The depiction of contemporary historical events is rarely found on maiolica, rendering this a particularly interesting scene. Although the Pope's elephant did not make the journey to Florence, it had appeared in Papal processions in Rome. Rumours of the beast and the Pope's love of splendour and parade had obviously spread to Montelupo, and Leo X's visit to the city of his birth was no doubt a great occasion.

Historical context note

This plate was probably made to commemorate the visit of Leo X to Florence in 1516. The elephant, named Hanno, was given to the Pope by King Manoel of Portugal in 1514, although it never visited Florence, dying in Rome in 1516.
Leo X (born Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici in 1475, Pope 1513-1521) was noted for his extravagant tastes and love of pomp. A great patron of the Arts, Leo X drew to his Court such artists as Michelangelo and Raphael. The glory of his reign, however, was blighted by the spread of the Reformation and the incriminations of Martin Luther.

Descriptive line

Dish depicting Pope Leo X in procession

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

Rackham, Bernard: Italian Maiolica pl.49.( London: Faber and Faber, 1952)
Shearman, John, 'The Florentine Entrata of Leo X, 1515', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol XXXVIII, 1975, pp136-154, especially Appx II.
Berti, F., Capolavori della maiolica rinascimentale: Montelupo "fabbrica" di Firenze 1400-1600, exh.cat. Florence (Palazzo Medici-Riccardi) 2002, cat 36, pp. 171-175 Cox-Rearick, J. (ed), Giulio Romano: Master Designer, New York 1999, pp22-23
Baldini, N. and Bietti, M. Nello Splendore Mediceo Papa Leone X e Firenze. Livorno: Sillabe, 2013. pp.524-5
Syndram, D., Wirth, Y. and Wagner, I. Y. Luther und die Fürsten. 2015. Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Sandstein Verlag. pp.73-74.
Syndram, Dirk., Staude, Andrea, and Czupalla, Michael eds. Luther und die Fürsten: Selbstdarstellung und Selbstverständnis des Herrschers im Zeitalter der Reformation. Standstein Verlag: Dresden, 2015. ISBN 9783954981601.

Labels and date

DISH showing the arrival of Pope Leo X in Florence
1515-16

This plate commemorates the triumphal entry of the Medici Pope Leo X into his native city in November 1515. Leo was noted for his extravagant tastes and love of pomp, as well as his artistic patronage. The elephant, named Hanno, was a gift from King Manoel of Portugal in 1514. It never went to Florence, but died in Rome in 1516.

Italy, Montelupo

Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

Museum no. 8928-1863 [2008]

Production Note

This anonymous artist can be linked to several other objects, including a plate in the Musée de Cluny, Paris, also with a procession subject.

Materials

Earthenware

Categories

Ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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