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Dish with a Roman Emperor in Profile
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Dish with a Roman Emperor in Profile

Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description In the center of this dish is the left profile bust of an unidentified Roman Emperor wearing a laurel wreath and facing a scroll inscribed: "HOM.PRE/PON.IT.E.DvS.DSPNIT" (Man proposes, God disposes). Classical figures like the one shown here were popularly depicted by maiolica painters during the sixteenth century, and the profile was likely based on an ancient coin. The inscription references the belief that man's fate, even that of powerful Roman emperors, is ultimately in the hands of God. The inclusion of such a phrase made the dish appropriate for a Christian household, where viewers would have been reminded of God's preeminence.

The scale pattern on the outer rim is a frequent motif on maiolica as is the combination of gold luster and blue. The back has a greenish-yellow glaze with a double X in the center scratched through the glaze. The surface of this dish appears shiny because of its gold luster glaze, a technique that emerged in the fifteenth century from Spanish potters, and was commonly used by Renaissance maiolica painters in Deruta. For another dish with a Roman profile, see 48.1317. For more information on ‘maiolica’, see 48.1336.

  • I, Claudius: Art in the Age of Julio-Claudians. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1977-1978.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] On a scroll on the front: HOM.PRE/PON.IT.E.DvS.DSPNIT; [Translation] On a scroll on the front: Man proposes, God disposes; [Inscription] On the back sctratched through the glaze: XX
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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ca. 1525 (Renaissance)
earthenware with tin glaze (maiolica)
Accession Number
2 15/16 x 15 9/16 in. (7.5 x 39.5 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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