Plate

1520-1525 (made)
Plate thumbnail 1
Plate thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery
Place Of Origin

Ovid's Metamorphoses, recounting lively tales from Classical mythology, was much used by Renaissance artists. In 1497 a Venetian printer, Zoane Rosso, published a new edition of the text accompanied by allegorical interpretations and illustrative woodcuts that became essential sources for maiolica painters. The first Italian translation was printed in 1522, which greatly increased the popularity of Ovid and set the precedent for further translations into the vernacular. Ovid was extremely important to the humanistic tradition of the Renaissance, and was studied alongside Circero, Horace and Virgil.
Leda was important as a wife and mother. She was the wife of Tyndareus (a king of Sparta) and mother to many noble children.
According to the Greek myth, Leda was approached by the god Zeus, masquerading as a swan, and the subsequent union resulted in the birth of Helen, who later became the wife of Theseus, King of Athens, and renowned for her very great beauty.
The story of Leda conformed very neatly with the importance of dynastic fulfilment and the continuation of a noble lineage. Such a plate would have been admired not just for its beauty and erudition in recalling episodes from classical mythology but may also have appealed to the Renaissance inclination to the erotic. Indeed, numerous plates bearing such mythical or allegorical themes have lifted their subjects directly from such sources as Giulio Romano's I modi, the notorious erotic prints illustrative of various sexual positions.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Tin-glazed earthenware
Brief Description
Plate depicting Leda and the Swan
Physical Description
In the middle Leda and the Swan, in a medallion flanked by two other medallions on the rim containing trophies of arms; above and below, on the rim, a grotesque mask supporting fruit and flanked by sea-horses springing from leafy scrolled stems. On the back groups of concentric circles in lustre.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 25.5cm
Credit line
Bequeathed by George Salting, Esq.
Object history
Spitzer Sale Cat., Paris, 19 May 1893, Lot 1238; bought by Mr Salting for 5600 Frs.

George Salting bequest.



Historical significance: Leda was important as a wife and mother. She was the wife of Tyndareus (a king of Sparta) and mother to many noble children.

According to the Greek myth, Leda was approached by the god Zeus, masquerading as a swan, and the subsequent union resulted in the birth of Helen, who later became the wife of Theseus, King of Athens, and renowned for her very great beauty.

The story of Leda conformed very neatly with the importance of dynastic fulfilment and the continuation of a noble lineage. Such a plate would have been admired not just for its beauty and erudition in recalling episodes from classical mythology but may also have appealed to the Renaissance inclination to the erotic. Indeed, numerous plates bearing such mythical or allegorical themes have lifted their subjects directly from such sources as Giulio Romano's I modi, the notorious erotic prints illustrative of various sexual positions.
Historical context
Ovid's Metamorphoses, recounting lively tales from Classical mythology, was much used by Renaissance artists. In 1497 a Venetian printer, Zoane Rosso, published a new edition of the text accompanied by allegorical interpretations and illustrative woodcuts that became essential sources for maiolica painters. The first Italian translation was printed in 1522, which greatly increased the popularity of Ovid and set the precedent for further translations into the vernacular. Ovid was extremely important to the humanistic tradition of the Renaissance, and was studied alongside Circero, Horace and Virgil.
Production
Painted by "Painter of the Diruta Plate", J Mallet, 09.01.2001

Compare Louvre piece with lady wearing helmet , Deruta, first half of 16th cent. (In Fiocco & Gherardi, 1988, p.107, fig, 96)
Subjects depicted
Summary
Ovid's Metamorphoses, recounting lively tales from Classical mythology, was much used by Renaissance artists. In 1497 a Venetian printer, Zoane Rosso, published a new edition of the text accompanied by allegorical interpretations and illustrative woodcuts that became essential sources for maiolica painters. The first Italian translation was printed in 1522, which greatly increased the popularity of Ovid and set the precedent for further translations into the vernacular. Ovid was extremely important to the humanistic tradition of the Renaissance, and was studied alongside Circero, Horace and Virgil.

Leda was important as a wife and mother. She was the wife of Tyndareus (a king of Sparta) and mother to many noble children.

According to the Greek myth, Leda was approached by the god Zeus, masquerading as a swan, and the subsequent union resulted in the birth of Helen, who later became the wife of Theseus, King of Athens, and renowned for her very great beauty.

The story of Leda conformed very neatly with the importance of dynastic fulfilment and the continuation of a noble lineage. Such a plate would have been admired not just for its beauty and erudition in recalling episodes from classical mythology but may also have appealed to the Renaissance inclination to the erotic. Indeed, numerous plates bearing such mythical or allegorical themes have lifted their subjects directly from such sources as Giulio Romano's I modi, the notorious erotic prints illustrative of various sexual positions.
Bibliographic Reference
Fiocco & Gherardi, Ceramiche Umbre, I, Faenza 1988 Rackham B., Italian Maiolica, London, Faber & Faber, 1952
Other Number
491 - Rackham (1977)
Collection
Accession Number
C.2189-1910

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record createdMarch 16, 2006
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