Lowered oval-shaped fluted flask, collar in a silver mixture ring, with screw lid, supported by small metal rings; two orange tones of majolica painted, with touches of blue; from the top: fantastic register, orange circle, register with festoon among daisies, circle from which fluted elements start; in each segment, a vegetal decoration of branches carpet, symbol of the Golden Fleece (Toson d'oro) and imaginative beings of the medieval type, called "crickets". on the manganese background, letter "L".
H. cm. 21,5.
Florence, Medicean manufacturing: Niccolò Sisti majolica master, Jacopo Ligozzi, designer and painter; last quarter of XVI century.
The elegant flask has precise comparisons in the Medicean manufacturing, guided by Niccolò Sisti, characterized by spasmodic research to reach the “perfect porcelain” coming from the East since Marco Polo time. The Medici obtained some successes, in particular under the Grand Duke Francesco. Even if there is not S. Maria del Fiore dome brand, or F letter, the flask finds punctual comparisons in Medicean porcelain, whether in the fluted pear – shape, named as “a spichi” into ducal inventories, or in naturalistic decorative patterns. The floral carpet with leafs held by filaments, even if of oriental taste, is an interesting artistic performance of valerian; the plant was often depicted by the Verona painter Jacopo Ligozzi. The Grand Duke Francesco I called him in 1577 to Florence and the painter lived for ten years into the Casino of S. Mark. Here, Ligozzi realized a copious corpus of naturalistic, botanic and zoological illustrations, nowadays into Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe at Uffizi Museum. The “L” letter on the flask base refers both to Jacopo Ligozzi, called by coeval artist Filippo Baldinucci pittore universalissimo, and the period between 1577-1587, when he was related to the Foundry. Ligozzi could have provided to decorative patterns but it is even possible they have been elaborated by his own, because of the sign.
Into the typical botanical iconography view of Jacopo, on the upper section of the vessel, a curvy shape animal is realized in each rays; it is a clear reference to “Toson d’oro”, a honorary epithet conferred to Grand Duke Cosimo I in 1562 and visible in its family emblem. On the lower section, an intellectual bond is founded in a figure with medieval “crickets”. The flask is close to Medicean production for the metal inserts, screw lid and for the base. All of these features are common to signed works, as in a document dated to 1577-78, in which master Castrucci was paid for insert silver pigment in: “…cinque fiasche di porcellana lavorata con diversi ornamenti”.
[References: G. Cora-A. Fanfani, La porcellana dei Medici, Milan 1986; cited documents: M. Spallanzani, Ceramiche alla corte dei Medici nel Cinquecento, Modena 1994, docc. 37, 39; about Jacopo Ligozzi see: A. Cecchi-L. Conigliello-M. Faietti, Jacopo Ligozzi. «Pittore universalissimo», Exibition catalogue, Florence 2014, Sillabe, in May 2014, passim.]