Description This dish depicts an episode from the Roman poet Ovid’s (43 BCE-17AD) “The Metamorphoses.” Pan, god of shepherds and rustic music, challenged Apollo, god of the Sun, to a competition of musical ability. In the center, Apollo plays a violin, although in Ovid’s version he played a lyre. Pan, identifiable because of his goat legs, is seated on the right. Spectators in the background appear mesmerized by Apollo’s skillful playing. The rolled rim is painted with a complicated mix of cupids, satyrs, and trophies, which demonstrate how the original concept of "grotesque" designs became more classical and solid by the second half of the sixteenth century. The inscription “hapollo et/panno,” painted in the center of the reverse side and framed by a design of sprigs and zigzags, identifies the scene on the front. The back is also painted unevenly in white with three yellow-ochre concentric circles. This dish is representative of “istoriato” (tells a story) wares, which emerged at the end of the fifteenth century and typically portrayed scenes from Classical narratives. It was painted in Castel Durante by the workshop of Andrea da Negroponte, the compositions of which are characterized by large numbers of figures. To view more maiolica wares by this artist, click on the name in the creator field. For more on "istoriato" imagery, see 48.1487; for additional information on “maiolica” see 48.1336.
Provenance H. Wencke Collection, Hamburg [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [no. 108 (?)]; Seligmann, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, May 7, 1908, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Inscription] In the center back, in manganese, a panel formed by sprigs and zigzags with the inscription: ha pollo • et • / panno
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1908
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