Dish with The Woman of Sestos and the Eagle and arms of the Pucci family

Artist: Painted by Fra Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (ca. 1486–1582)

Date: 1532

Culture: Italian, Urbino

Medium: Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)

Dimensions: Overall: 1 7/8 × 16 in. (4.8 × 40.6 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Pottery

Credit Line: The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931

Accession Number: 32.100.378


An inscription on the reverse of this dish identifies the story—a loyal eagle choosing to die alongside the maiden who raised him—and its source, the Roman author Pliny the Elder. The bystanders on the rim react to the action that would have been entirely covered by food. With the dish empty, we see how the painter cleverly used the convex shape to promote a sense of recession within the scene.