This large bowl or dish belongs to a set made as a gift for the king and queen of Hungary; their royal arms appear at the top, interrupting the elaborate border. Concentric circles of ribbons, flowers, and geometric designs act as a framing device for the central scene, where the woman and unicorn probably symbolize chastity. Beautiful and functional, a dish like this one might have hung from a wall at times and been used at a table at others.
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Title:Bowl with The Virgin and the Unicorn and arms of Matthias Corvinus and Beatrice of Aragon
Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary ; and/or his third wife, Beatrice of Aragon , Château de Langeais, Indre-et-Loire, France (until 1886; Château de Langeais collection sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, December 13–18, 1886, no. 68); [ Charles Mannheim , Paris, by 1888–1901; sold as part of the Mannheim collection to Morgan ]; J. Pierpont Morgan , London and New York (1901–d. 1913; on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1901–12 [no. 41], brought to New York 1912); J. P. Morgan Jr. , New York (1913–16; on loan to MMA 1914–16 [PM3053]; sold to Duveen as part of the Morgan collection ["Morgan Majolica" no. 23]); [ Duveen Brothers , New York, 1916; sold to Schiff ] ; Mortimer L. Schiff , New York (1916–d. 1931; on loan to MMA 1917–19; to his son, John); by descent, John M. Schiff , New York (1931–46; on loan to MMA 1937–46, on view 1937–41; his sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, May 4, 1946, no. 60; sold for $9,500 plus $475 commission to French and Company); [ French and Co., New York , as agent for MMA, 1946 ]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of the J. Pierpont Morgan Collection," February 17, 1914–May 28, 1916.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Maiolica from the Mortimer L. Schiff Collection," January 15–February 27, 1938.
Schloss Schallaburg. "Matthias Corvinus and the Renaissance in Hungary," May 8, 1982–November 14, 1982.
Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest. "Beatrix hozománya - Az itáliai majolikaművészet és Mátyás király udvara," March 26, 2008–June 30, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art and Love in Renaissance Italy," November 11, 2008–February 16, 2009.
New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens. "Search for the Unicorn: An Exhibition in Honor of The Cloisters' 75th Anniversary," May-14-Aug-18-2013.
Florence. Museo di San Marco. "Matthias Corvinus and Florence: Art and Humanism in the court of the King of Hungary," October 10, 2013–January 6, 2014.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Renaissance Maiolica: Painted Pottery for Shelf and Table," October 20, 2016–May 29, 2017.
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