Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

The Eagle of Sestos

Artist:
Painted by Fra Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (ca. 1486–1582)
Date:
1532
Culture:
Italian, Urbino
Medium:
Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)
Dimensions:
Diam. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics-Pottery
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
32.100.378
Not on view
The great pottery painter Xanto is here inspired by Pliny's tale of the devotion of an eagle to a young woman: the eagle is ready to immolate itself to be with her even in death. Strikingly, for this classical tale of loyalty and selflessness the artist draws upon the infamous erotic prints known as I modi for motifs, above all for the nude man seen from behind stoking the fire. This example is not the only occasion on which Xanto made a visual reference to this censored group of engravings. The borrowing is of particular interest here as it introduces what was originally an erotic motif onto a plate that is part of a large dinner service made for the Pucci family.
Signature: On back, after inscription: ".fra. Xanto. A. da Rouigo. T/ Urbino."

Inscription: In cartouche on face: "Le cener sellax gi qui..." (indecipherable), on back: ".MDXXXII./ A'l'uso antico u(n) V(er)gi(n) corpo ardedo/ un' Aquila da quel nutrito, anch'ella/ uolse partecipar dil fuoco horredo/ Nel. X. Libro £Caio Plinio secodo, al Cap: V" (trans.: According to the antique custom, the body of a virgin being burned/ an eagle nourished by her also/ wishes to participate in the horrid fire.) (translation on face indecipherable).
Michael Friedsam (until 1931; bequeathed to MMA)
Related Objects

The Marriage of Alexander and Roxana

Artist: Fra Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (ca. 1486–1582) Date: 1534 Medium: Maiolica (tin-enameled earthenware), lustered Accession: 18.129.2 On view in:Not on view

Dish

Artist: Follower of Fra Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (ca. 1486–1582) Date: 1530–45 Medium: Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware) Accession: 27.97.27 On view in:Not on view

Cephalus Killing Procris

Artist: Painted by Fra Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (ca. 1486–1582) Date: 1533 Medium: Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware) Accession: 27.97.41 On view in:Gallery 503

The Nativity

Artist: Painted by Fra Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (ca. 1486–1582) Date: 1538 Medium: Maiolica (tin-enameled earthenware), lustered Accession: 27.97.36 On view in:Not on view

The Entombment of Christ

Artist: Painted by Fra Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (ca. 1486–1582) Date: 1536 Medium: Maiolica (tin-enameled earthenware), lustered Accession: 27.97.30 On view in:Gallery 503