Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pharmacy jar (albarello)

ca. 1500–10
Italian, Montelupo
Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)
Overall (confirmed): 10 5/16 × 5 1/2 × 5 1/2 in. (26.2 × 14 × 14 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1965
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 521
Storage vessels were among the most frequently produced maiolica wares in late medieval and Renaissance Italy. Made in fairly standard shapes, they were designed to fit with dozens of others on a shelf, often in a pharmacy or shop. Their handles therefore tend to fit within the vessel’s profile, and the cylindrical albarello type is generally narrower at the middle than at the top or bottom, making it easy to grip. Other common features include inscriptions indicating contents and flanged lips to help secure cloth or paper seals. The decoration, usually more elaborate on one side than the other, can sometimes link pieces to a known dispensary or specific workshop or artist.
Inscription: Inscribed on band in blue: PIONIA [trans.: Peony]

Stickers on underside: [1] 72; [2] C 1944; [3] F.G.?

Written in ink on underside: 79

Marking: Unmarked
Adolf von Beckerath , Berlin (until 1913; his sale, Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Hause, Berlin, November 4–5, 1913, no. 72); Walter von Pannwitz , Berlin (until d. 1920) ; [ Rosenberg & Stiebel , New York, until 1965; one of fourteen maiolica pieces given by the dealers to MMA in exchange for a group of eighteenth-century boxes and dance cards (carnets de bal) from the Morgan collection ]
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