Tin-glazed earthenware with gold and red lustre (maiolica)
Diameter: 39.4 cm (15 1/2 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1943.56
During the Renaissance, the powerful Vigeri family of Savona, a seaport in northwestern Italy, included numerous cardinals and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.
Italian nobles of the 1500s often expressed their wealth, social status, and sophistication by ordering large sets of maiolica that sometimes carried their coats of arms or even likenesses, usually in profile similar to portrait paintings of the period. Reserved for use at festival events such as a wedding or commissioned to mark a special occasion or an important visit, elaborately decorated utilitarian vessels in maiolica were prized as works of art by their owners and displayed as such in their residences.
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