Description This dish portrays the sea nymph Philyra and Cronos, a leader of the Titans, the generation of divinities preceding the Olympian gods. According to Greek mythology, Cronus fell in love with Philyra, and when his wife Rhea discovered them together, he quickly transformed himself into a horse to escape detection. Cronos is pictured here in the upper right corner, holding a scythe and sitting in a sunburst ringed with clouds. On a hillside at the left, Philyra reclines on her right elbow; behind her, Cronos is transforming himself into a horse. This composition, painted in red-gold and dark ruby luster, is characteristic of “istoriato” (tells a story) imagery, which often featured scenes from Classical antiquity. The back is bluish-white and is decorated in ruby and red-gold lustre with four spirals converted into floral scrolls; in the center, in lustre, is a floral motif surmounted by the date, "1539." It was likely made in Urbino or Gubbio, cities with maiolica workshops that specialized in luster wares. For more on “istoriato,” see 48.1487; for additional information on “maiolica,” see 48.1336.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Date] On the center back, a floral motif surmounted by the date, in lustre: 1539
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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