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Dish with Constantine the Great
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Dish with Constantine the Great

Description Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This dish shows Constantine (272-337 CE), the first Christian Emperor of Rome, on horseback carrying a banner. He clasps his hands together in an attitude of prayer, and lifts his face to a series of waved rays, representing heavenly guidance, emanating from the top of the center roundel. The inscription, “Io mare chomado a Dio,” (I commend myself to God) is displayed on the outer ring. Constantine’s dramatic conversion and military victories made him the ideal Christian soldier, and his presence on a dish would have reminded the owner to follow his example. The back of the dish is painted with a greenish-yellow glaze and marked with a cross in the center.

This is a "piatto di pompe," or ceremonial dish, distinguished by its impressive size and skillful decoration. In the sixteenth century, a group of these large dishes could take the place of fine metal vessels on a sideboard display. Painted in cobalt blue and gold-colored luster, it reveals the influence of Hispano-Moresque pottery imported to Italy during the Renaissance period. The dish is attributed to the workshop of Giacomo Mancini, also known as “El Frate,” one of the most prominent maiolica painters in Deruta. For additional information on luster decoration, see 48.1320; for more on maiolica production, see 48.1336.

Provenance Normand Collection [date and mode of acquisition unknown] (?); Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] On the front, around the marli, an alternating pattern of rosettes and concave-sided squares containing one or two letters each of the inscription: I O M A RE C H O M A D O+ +A DI O + (Io mare chomado a Dio); [Translation] I commend myself to God ; [Inscription] On the back center, in greenish-yellow, a cross
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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1540-1560 (Renaissance)
earthenware with tin glaze (maiolica) and luster decoration
Accession Number
3 5/16 x 15 3/4 in. (8.4 x 40 cm)


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