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The Contest between the Muses and the Pierides


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Title/s

The Contest between the Muses and the Pierides

Maker/s

Durantino, Guido (workshop) [ULAN info: Italian ceramist, act.1520-1576]

Gatti, Camillo attributed (painter) [ULAN info: Italian ceramist, d.1567]

Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo) after (painter) [ULAN info: Italian artist, 1494-1540]

Caraglio, Giovanni Giacomo after (printmaker)

Category

tin-glazed earthenware
maiolica (sub-category)

Name

dish

School/Style

Renaissance

Description

Maiolica dish, painted in polychrome, with The Contest between the Muses and the Pierides.

Pale buff earthenware, tin-glazed on both sides; the glaze on the reverse is pale beige and speckled. Painted in blue, green, yellow, orange, beige, brown, manganese, black, and a little white high-lighting. Shape 64. Circular with narrow rim, and wide, shallow well. The Contest between the Muses and the Pierides. The nine daughters of Pierus stand on the right separated by a stream from the Muses, led by Callipte who holds a harp. Above, a group of nymphs, gods and goddesses, including Apollo and Minerva, serve as judges. In the landscape background there are stunted trees on hills, and on the right, a coastline with buildings and distant mountains. The edge is yellow. The back is inscribed in the middle in blue, 'Ausae Cum Musjs Committere proelja/Voce Victae nunc Volitant jmmitantes/omnia pjcae/Fatto jn Urbino in Botega de Mo (o raised)/Guido da Casteldurante' (Having dared to have contests with the Muses and defeated by voice, they now fly away as magpies imitating everything). Single yellow bands encircle the junction of the rim and well, and the outer edge.

Production Notes

The source of the design was an engraving by G.G. Caraglio after The Contest between the Muses and the Pierides by Rosso Fiorentino (1494-1540), probably the painting now in the Louvre. The inscription on the back of the dish was taken from the bottom of the print where it appears in capitals, AUSAE CUM MUSIS COMMITTERE PROELIA VOCE VICTAE NUNC VOLITANT IMMITANTES OMNIA PICAE.

The literary source was Ovid's Metamorphoses, V, 294-678. The nine daughters of Pierus, King of Emathia, overconfident of their musical talent, challenged the Muses to a singing contest. After all had performed, the adjudicating nymphs declared the Muses the winners. The Pierides unwisely clamoured against their decision, and as punishment for their presumption and rudeness were transformed into magpies.

Production Place

Urbino (workshop) (place)

The Marches (workshop) (region)

Italy (workshop) (country)

Urbino (painter) (place) ()

The Marches (painter) (region) ()

Italy (painter) (country) ()

Italy (painter) (country) ()

Italy (printmaker) (country) ()

Technique Description

Dish. Pale buff earthenware, tin-glazed on both sides; the glaze on the reverse is pale beige and speckled. Painted in blue, green, yellow, orange, beige, brown, manganese, black, and a little white high-lighting.

Dimensions

height: (whole): 5.2 cm
diameter: (whole): 46 cm

Period

mid 16th century
Renaissance

Date

circa 1545 to 1550

Provenance

bought: Sotheby's 1942 (Filtered for: Applied Arts collection)

Probably the Comtesse de Cambis; Baron Achille Seillière; sold Christie's, 13 July 1888, Catalogue of Old Italian Maiolica from the Collection of a Well-known Amateur, lot 198 (95 guineas); Sir Otto Beit, London; Sir Alfred Beit, BT, MP, London; sold Sotheby's, 16 September 1942, Catalogue of the Important Italian Majolica the property of Sir Alfred Beit, B.T., M.P., p. 23, lot 63; sold to Louis C.G. Clarke for the Fitzwilliam.

Purchased with the Glaisher Fund

Inscriptions/Marks


  1. Position: middle of back
    Method: painted in blue
    Content: Ausae Cum Musjs Committere proelja/Voce Victae nunc Volitant jmmitantes/omnia pjcae/Fatto jn Urbino in Botega de Mo (o raised)/Guido da Casteldurante'
    Interpretation: from the bottom of the print source where it appears in capitals
    Language: Latin
    Translation: Having dared to have contests with the Muses and defeated by voice, they now fly away as magpies imitating everything

Documentation

  1. Jacquemart, Albert (1873) Histoire de la céramique: Étude descriptive et raisonnée des poteries de tous les temps et de tous les peuples, Colmar, Paris: Hachette [page: 311-2]
    [comments: Publ. Probably mentioned]
  2. Van de Put, Albert (1916) Catalogue of the Collection of Pottery and Porcelain in the Possession of Mr Otto Beit, London: Privately printed at the Chiswick Press [page: 104-5]
    [comments: Publ. No. 838, illustrated pl. XXVI]
  3. Rackham, Bernard (1930) Majolica at the Exhibition of Italian Art, [page: 81]
    Source title: The Collector (Jan-April 1930)
    [comments: Publ. Text p. 81, illustrated fig. 18.]
  4. Balniel, Lord (1931) A Commemorative Catalogue of the Exhibition of Italian Art held in the Galleries of the Royal Academy, Burlington House, London, January-March, l930, London [page: 322]
    [comments: Publ. p. 322, no. 1068]
  5. Lessmann, Johanna (1979) Majoliken aus der Werkstatt der Fontana, Faenza [page: 340]
    Source title: Faenza (1979)
    [comments: Publ. Discussed p. 340; illustrated pl. CIXa and b]
  6. Mallet, J.V.G. (1987) In Botega di Maestro Guido Durantino in Urbino, London [page: 292-4, 298]
    Source title: Burlington Magazine (May 1987)
    [comments: Publ. Illustrated in colour on front cover, in blakc and white on p. 292, figs. 9, 9a, and text see pp. 293-4, and listing of documentary pieces, p. 298, no. 35.]
  7. Boorsch, Suzanne (1985) The Illustrated Bartsch 28 formerly volume 15 (Part 1) Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century, New York [page: 192]
    [comments: Ref. p. 192, no. 53]
  8. Ovid (1977) Ovid in Six Volumes III Metamorphoses with an English Translation by Frank Justus Miller, London [page: 258-85]
    [comments: Ref. The subject is taken from Book V, lines 294-678. The words at the end of line 299 imitantes omnia picae are included in the inscription on the dish.]
  9. Poole, Julia E. (1995) Italian Maiolica and Incised Slipware in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: pp.365-6]
    [comments: Cf pp. 365-6, no. 404.]

Other Notes

Accession Number

EC.35-1942 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 47105; Input Date: 2002-05-01 / Last Edit: 2011-06-30)

Related Image/s

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