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Armorial Plate (tondino): The story of King Midas

Nicola da Urbino (Italian, active by 1520–died ?1537/38 Urbino)

Date:
ca. 1520–1525
Medium:
Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)
Dimensions:
Diam. 10 13/16 in. (27.5 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics-Pottery
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.1019
  • Description

    This plate is one of twenty-one surviving pieces of the most famous and elaborate majolica service of the Renaissance, created for Isabella d'Este, marchioness of Mantua, by Nicola da Urbino, the most celebrated majolica painter of his generation. The center of this dish shows Isabella's coat of arms surrounded by three of her personal emblems: a musical scroll, a candelabrum with one lit candle, and a bunch of lottery tickets. On the rim is a portrayal of the musical contest between Apollo and Pan judged by King Midas, a subject recounted in Ovid's "Metamorphoses." The subtle coloring and delicate execution of the expansive landscape setting reveal the artist's consummate skill. Another piece from this service is also in the Robert Lehman Collection.

  • Provenance

    Isabella d'Este, marchioness of Mantua; Frédéric Spitzer, Paris; Spitzer sale, 1893, lot 1705, ill.; Alfred Israel Pringsheim, Munich, later Zurich (1850-1941); sale*, Sotheby's, London, June 8, 1939, lot 190, ill.; [Julius Goldschmidt, London, for Lehman]; acquired by Robert Lehman through Goldschmidt Galleries, New York, 1939.

  • See also
    Who
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    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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