Follower of Bernard Palissy (French, Agen, Lot-et-Garonne 1510–1590 Paris)
Decoration after pewter originals by François Briot (French, ca. 1550–1612)
late 16th–early 17th century
French, Fontainebleau or Avon
1/16 × 15 1/2 in. (0.2 × 39.4 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1904
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 544
The basin’s center is occupied by the figure of Temperance, one of the four cardinal virtues, who prepares to pour water into her wine cup to symbolize the concept of moderation. She is surrounded by personifications of the four elements (water, earth, fire, and air), over which she rules; on the rim are vignettes featuring the seven liberal arts, presided over by Minerva (Athena), the Roman goddess of wisdom. The ewer is decorated with representations of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Attesting to the close relationship between metalwork and ceramics at the time, this allegorically themed set was made after pewter originals by François Briot (ca. 1550–ca. 1612).