C10: Maiolica dish : Medea
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© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Maiolica dish : Medea|
|Object type||In category: Ceramics » Dish|
Attributed to Francesco Durantino - Pottery painter(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Southern Europe » Italy » Central Italy » Marche » Urbino|
|Materials & techniques||
Round dish with a shallow well and small rim. Painted in dark and light greens and blues, orange-yellow, dusty-brown and black enamels with white highlights with the story of Medea and King Pelias's daughters.
|Marks and inscriptions||
This dish was made in the workshop of Francesco Durantino, an Urbino contract painter turned workshop owner. Two further dishes, in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg and the City Art Gallery, Manchester, have been tentatively identified as belonging to the same series as this dish. All three dishes appear to come from the Durantino workshop and display Juan Alvarez de Toldeo’s heraldry (cardinal 1538-1557). At the centre of the Holburne dish, Medea, in a dragon-led chariot is shown landing on Mount Pelion beside a nude musician who holds a violin. Additionally, two female figures (king Pelias's daughters), one in orange, the other blue, frame the central scene.
This interpretation of Medea’s exploits comes to us from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which the author recounts how the sorceress Medea rejuvenated Aeson, her husband’s father. Medea traveled to Mount Pelion on her dragon-led chariot where a special herb grew. During her travels she encountered king Pelias's daughters who were also seeking to cure their sickly father. Medea agreeed to rejuvenate Pelias but she ultimately deceived the king’s daughters by supplying them with a poisonous elixir instead.
Medea’s chariot is perhaps derived from depictions found on vases on antique vases. The reverse of the dish is inscribed Come Medea ariuò al monte Pelion il quale in Teselia [How Medea went to Mt. Pelion, that is in Thessalia].
The History of the Holburne Collection » The Collection » Ceramics
|Provenance||August Richard de Montferrand (1786-1858); sold Christies 14 November 1859 (31); purchased by Sir Thomas William Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882), by whom bequeathed to the Museum|