shaped dish with medium size border on a large disc foot base.
Completely finished on the reverse.
Integral form. Overall glazing extending to the back.
bowl shaped dish is an example which shows how some journeymen artists
had moved to and worked in Montelupo in the 1630s. Though their
production was limited, it derived from the obvious formal canons from
their original hometown, even though they were made in the Valdarno
technical and decorative philology which characterises the work produced
by these artists from Romagna, and especially the painter who signed his
work with the “pitchfork” mark, to which we have previously referred.
Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin safeguards this maiolica which, without
doubt, can be included in the Faenza genre called “vaghezze e gentilezze”
(lightness and delicacy) (Ravanelli Guidotti 1998, pp. 306-13). This
genre was characterised by the use of a coloured enamel in various tones
of blue, from light blue to the greyish hue of the so called “berettino”.
The particular chromatism of this type of production skilfully exploits
the contrasting dominant sky blue of the background with the lighter,
white tin of the decorations, often highlighted by touches of intense
blue, as can be seen in this dish.
complex plant composition on the border and in the centre, surrounds the
coat-of-arms, in which the Medici ensign is associated to that of an
unknown family (three shoots on a stalk?). These same motifs, though
drawn differently, are found on separate sections of the dish. On the
border, in fact, apart from the particular highlighting due to the
dotting of the border (refer to Faenza products dating between 1528 to
1544, cf. Ravanelli Guidotti 1998, p. 301, fig. 68a, 68c) one can see a
branch with leaves and opposing spiral motifs which spread over the
surface. In the centre, instead, the composition represents a sort of
tree, which stems from the bottom part of the ensign, as if it were
shooting out from the earth. This encloses the coat-of-arms with its
refined chromatic contrast between light blue and white recalls the
visual effect of “niello” decoration (note the criss-crossed leaves),
almost as if the highlighted decorations in white-tin had been made with
precious silver threads, inserted into the glazed surface of the dish.
The perfect mastering of the spatial development of the whole
composition and its admirable symmetry, gives the impression that the
composition was obtained by the dusting technique used by goldsmiths
(cf. previous card no. 50).
encircled workshop mark painted on the back, as already noted, belongs
to a vase maker from Faenza who worked in Montelupo, and could be the
same Girolamo Mengari, who has frequently been mentioned here. The
chronology of the document (slightly earlier than the Hausmann example)
is relative to both the Faenza genre, (recorded in written documents
from 1528; Ravanelli Guidotti 1998, p. 306), and to the presence of
journeymenartists in Montelupo (after 1523), and, above all, to the
elaborate stylisation of the coat-of-arms. The piece can, therefore, be
dated around 1540.