Dish with a narrow brim, defluent inner circumference and broad cavetto with a portrait of Politian
MONTELUPO, late 15th century.Polychrome painted majolica: rim decorated with a broken ribbon pattern and small roses: overlapping design around the inside; in the centre a Portrait of Politian (Angelo Poliziano), profile, head crowned with a laurel wreath; on left side, the word AMA.
Ø 35 cm.; h. 6.5 cm. Condition: fair; some glueing and renovation.
Provenance: Rimini, Cleto Cucci Collection.
Bibliography: Maioliche rinascimentali italiane, Semenzato Auction, 5 November 1986, Lot n. 72.Che fai tu, Ecco, mentr’io ti chiamo? – Amo
Ami tu dua o pur un solo ? – Un solo
E io te sola e non altri amo – Altri amo
Dunque non ami tu un solo? – Un solo
Questo è un dirmi: io non t’amo – Io non t’amo
Quel che tu ami ami ‘l tu solo? – Solo
Chi t’ha levata dal mio amore? – Amore
Che fa quello a chi porti amore? – Ah more!
[Stanza by Politian at the end of the Orfeo in the Florentine 1513 edition of the Stanze and the Orfeo]
Composed by the poet Politian (Angelo Poliziano) while he was staying in Venice in 1479, this strambotto or ditty, which was also set to music, conjures up the legend of the Nymph Echo, who was forced by a jealous Juno to repeat the same words over and over again for all time. The composition, constructed around the conjugation of the verb amare (to love), proved so popular that the artist who designed the dish had but to paint the word AMA alongside a male portrait to leave the observer in no doubt as to the identity of the sitter, who could be none other than Angelo Ambrogini (1454–94), known as Politian. There can be no doubt that it is indeed Politian because his features closely resemble those of the only certain portrait of the poet we have, painted by Ghirlandaio on the wall of the Sassetti Chapel in Santa Trinita, Florence.
From the old Cucci collection in Rimini, this tribute to Politian, which may have been manufactured around the time the poet died, is an absolutely unique piece, one of its kind with no parallel anywhere in the history of Italian majolica.