C3: Maiolica dish: ?Achilles and Patroclus at the Siege of Troy
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© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Maiolica dish: ?Achilles and Patroclus at the Siege of Troy|
|Object type||In category: Ceramics » Dish|
|Date||Between 1550 and 1575|
|Place of origin||Europe » Southern Europe » Italy » Northern Italy » Northern Italy|
24.2 cm diameter
|Materials & techniques||
Round maiolica dish with shallow well in centre. Figures, possibly Achilles and Patroclus at the Siege of Troy, shown on front. Painted in blue, green, yellow, brown, black, white oxides.
|Marks and inscriptions||
This dish perhaps shows Achilles and Patroclus from Book XVI of Homer’s Iliad. Patroclus convinced Achilles to let him wear his armour in order to deceive the Trojans into fearing that the great Achilles had joined the battle. Patroclus departed for Troy where he was killed by Hector. Patroclus’s death ensured that Achilles, vengeful and stricken with grief at the loss of his friend, returned to the war. However, the figures on the dish they do not comply completely with Homer’s description of them and this identification must remain speculative.
The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus has historically been much debated and disputed, Homer tells of their deep and affectionate relationship but suggestions of a sexual relationship remain ambiguous.
One of the earliest recorded maiolica services, commissioned by the Duke of Urbino ,was decorated with stories from the Trojan War. Although the origins of the design on this plate are uncertain, regional workshops re-used printed copies of the designs from the Duke of Urbino's service. This plate consists of primarily tints and tones of blue, yellow, green, brown and purple. Compared with most other pieces in the collection, it has less saturation or intensity of colour and is in a looser painterly style. This suggests the Veneto region, or influences from there.
The often deliberately ambiguous scenes on istoriato maiolica would have supplied after dinner entertainment, stimulating lively discussions and close analysis as to the nature of the clues they found in the images.
Wilson, Timothy, Italian Maiolica in the Ashmolean Museum, 2003, Phaidon Press/ Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Syson, Luke and Thornton, Dora, Objects of Virtue Art in Renaissance Italy, 2004 (2001), The British Museum Press, London
|Muse theme||The Art of Collecting
The History of the Holburne Collection » The Collection » Ceramics
with the object
Europe » Southern Europe » Italy » Northern Italy » Romagna » Faenza
Europe » Southern Europe » Italy » Northern Italy » Veneto » Veneto
|Provenance||Sir Thomas William Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882), by whom bequeathed to the Museum|