Manufactory Meissen Manufactory German
Factory director Böttger Period
Modeler Paul Heermann

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 533

By the mid-eighteenth century in Europe the commedia dell’arte was a popular source for modelers at porcelain factories throughout the Continent, and this genre was first fully explored at the Meissen factory beginning in the 1730s. In addition, the red-stoneware figures produced at Meissen are among the earliest, if not the very earliest, representations of commedia dell’arte characters in the medium of ceramics.[12] These figures are remarkably ambitious in terms of their modeling, and their dynamic poses skillfully express the theatrical nature of the subject matter (64.101.86). It is not known how many figures were produced, but based upon surviving examples, it appears that they were made in very small numbers.

(For key to shortened references see bibliography in Munger, European Porcelain in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018)

[12] At least two red-earthenware figures, one of which depicts Harlequin, were made in Delft in the years around 1700, and interestingly an example of Harlequin appears in a 1721 inventory of Augustus the Strong’s Japanese Palace, where his ceramic collec-tion was displayed; Chilton 2001, p. 322, no. 139. It has been suggested that this figure may have inspired the modelers at Meissen to make the red-stoneware commedia dell’arte figures; Chilton 1998.

Pantaloon, Meissen Manufactory (German, 1710–present), Red stoneware, partially polished, German, Meissen

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.