Boat-shaped vase, with pointed corned on one side and a dragon shape on the other, characterized by toothed open jaws and mustache; wavy bands on the body; stand on a shield with narrow neck; dragon tail with floral pattern. Painted majolica in polychrome: white, blue, azurite and two tones in yellow; between white-azurite waves a Delfino che trasporta Amore alato con tridente.
H. cm.10; l. mx cm. 17,5 x 13; base cm. 7,5 x 7.
Cond.: very good.
Urbino, Fontana workshop, Flaminio Fontana; middle and third - fourth of XVI century
Extremely rare and beautiful vase, sauceboat used, incredible lightweight with comparisons in some museums, characterized by similar shape, central depictions tied to sea world. The nearest shape is preserved into the Fernandez collection, depicting Venere sulle onde, as reported by Chompret, assigned to Urbino workshops, dated to 1570. Other similar examples are at the V.A.M (nn. 849-850), in London, in the Wallace Collection (n. C124), in Braunschweig Museum in Germany (n.186); all of them are dated around 1550-60 and assigned to Fontana workshop; a series of Braunschweig vernacular vessels (nn. 267, 268) is attributed to Patanazzi workshop, beginning of 1600s. Amazing depiction of Amorino with trident, symbol of Neptune, riding a dolphin, almost scared by the wavy sea; the painter gives back the image with a remarkable expressive energy and great expertise, probably inspired by Amore e Psiche novel, of Apuleio’s Asino d’oro, instead of Arione myth, cithara player, son of Neptune saved by a dolphin. In fact, the image of Venus with the procession of Nereidi, Tritons, Eros on dolphin is depicted on a large dish of Fontana workshop (dated 1570), referring to Apuleio fabula as specify on the written rear (Pandolfini Auction 1/10/2015, lot 51). Amore con tridente su delfino is also on a Ardet Aeternum plate of Alfonso II d’Este, dated to 1579, decorated by “putti- amorini” insert in “raffaellesca” majolica. The intricacy shape reminds to specific majolica of Francesco I of Medici family Guardaroba; in this way, it could possible refer to Flaminio Fontana workshop, active in Urbino from the middle of XI century and later, between the 1572 and 1578, under Medicean family in Florence.
[References: J. Chompret, Repertoire de la majolique italienne, Paris 1949, n 1041; G. Conti, Museo Nazionale di Firenze. Palazzo del Bargello, Catalogo delle maioliche, Florence 1971, nn.44,59; A.V.B. Norman, Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Ceramics 1, London 1976, C124; J.Lessmann, Jtalienische Majolika, Braunschweig 1979, nn.186, 267, 268; M. Spallanzani, Ceramiche alla corte dei Medici, Modena 1994, passim; F. Trevisani, (edit by), Le ceramiche dei Duchi d’Este. Dalla Guardaroba al collezionismo, Milan 2000, p. 42-43].