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Plate with Vulcan, Venus, and Cupid
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Plate with Vulcan, Venus, and Cupid


Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Venus, the Roman goddess of love, was married to the blacksmith-god Vulcan. This istoriato (story telling) plate shows him at left forging an arrow for Venus’s son Cupid, god of love, who accompanies his mother next to the tree at right. Although he is portrayed as a child, Cupid's power is great, since he targets the hearts of both humans and gods. Using gold-tipped arrows he makes them fall madly in love; however his lead-tipped ones cause them to reject all romantic advances.

This is a fine example of Xanto Avelli’s ability to compose the scene in graceful accommodation with the shape of the plate. The figures occupy the foreground, while the architecture at left and the island in the center create a deep sense of space. Xanto briefly identifies the subject with the word "Vulcan" on the reverse. For more on Francesco Xanto Avelli, see no. 48.1373 and for more works by him click on his name in the "creator" field. For more information on maiolica, see no. 48.1336 For more information on istoriato ware, see no. 48.1487

Exhibitions
  • Sharing Images: Renaissance Prints Into Maiolica and Bronze. National Gallery of Art, Washington. 2018.
Provenance Seligmann [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Inscription] On the back, between the footring, in blue-green: Vulcano ; [Signature] X
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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Period
ca. 1528-1532 (Renaissance)
Medium
earthenware with tin glaze (maiolica)
(Ceramics)
Accession Number
48.1492
Measurements
H: 1 1/16 x Diam: 10 7/16 in. (2.7 x 26.5 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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