C17: Maiolica dish: Aeneas and Creusa
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© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Maiolica dish: Aeneas and Creusa|
|Object type||In category: Ceramics » Dish|
Attributed to Patanazzi workshop (Italian ceramicists, active 16th-17th centuries) - Potter(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Southern Europe » Italy » Central Italy » Marche » Urbino|
25.0 cm diameter
|Materials & techniques||
Shallow, round maiolica tazza. Painted in light greens and blues, golden-yellow, orange, deep brown and black enamels with the story of Aeneas and his wife, Creusa, fleeing from Troy.Underside painted with winged putti among clouds. Foot missing.
|Marks and inscriptions||
Is is not clear what story is being depicted on this tazza. It has previously been identified as the Rape of Helen. However, it has recently been suggested that it is Aeneas and his wife Creusa fleeing Troy. While Aeneas fleeing is a frequently portrayed scene both in print and maiolica narratives, no Renaissance tradition exists for portraying Creusa. The central male and female figures painted on the dish closely resemble depictions of the Rape of Helen, and therefore the Patanazzi workshop may have relied on this more prevalent pictorial tradition to emphasize a less common aspect of the Aeneid.
The reclining figure of Venus may have been inspired by Titian’s The Bacchanal of the Andrians and the twins Romulus and Remus from a Venetian translation of Eucharius Roeslin’s De partu hominis (1536). The story of Aeneas’ flight from Troy was first penned by Virgil in order to parallel and improve upon the epic tradition of the Greeks. As divine parent, Venus protected Aeneas throughout his journey so that he could fulfill his destiny and become the ‘father’ of Rome. He is thus connected to Romulus and Remus. During Aeneas’ initial flight from Troy, Poseidon, at the request of Juno, created a storm over the seas. This might explain the presence of the sea deity on the dish. Although Troy is commonly shown engulfed in flames in scenes of Aeneas’ flight, Francesco Xanto’s portrayal of Aeneas carrying his father Anchises from Troy (British Museum collection) also omits this detail.
The unidentified coat-of-arms has the motto sublimi/e feriam sidera uertice [Then my exalted head will knock against the stars] taken from Horaces's Odes 1.1
|Muse theme||The Art of Collecting
The History of the Holburne Collection » The Collection » Ceramics
|Provenance||August Richard de Montferrand (1786-1858); sold Christies 14 November 1859 (?388); purchased by Sir Thomas William Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882), by whom bequeathed to the Museum|