"La passeggiata archaeologica (An Archeological Stroll)" Covered Urn

Designer: Gio Ponti (Italian, Milan 1891–1979 Milan)

Manufacturer: Manuffatura Richard-Ginori

Date: 1925

Culture: Italian

Medium: Porcelain

Dimensions: 19 3/4 x 6 3/4 in. Diam. (50.2 x 17.1 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Porcelain

Credit Line: Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1931

Accession Number: 31.83ab


Although Ponti was a committed modernist, his work always maintained a respect for tradition and history. Among his earliest projects was a series of porcelain vases designed for Richard-Ginori, for whom he worked as artistic director from 1923 to 1930. These pieces, intended to be mass-produced, were all designed on the theme of classicism-the national patrimony of Italy. This model, entitled "An Archaeological Stroll," presents classical imagery from the great moments in Italian cultural history: Roman antiquity, the Renaissance, and the Neoclassical period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Columns, urns, candelabra, and sundials alternate with animated human figures in period-appropriate costumes, set against a patterned ground suggesting marble masonry. Such imagery not only appealed to Ponti's nationalistic impulses-celebrating Italy's continuing contributions to art, architecture, and science-but, in its chic stylization, was also fashionably up-to-date.