Description In the center roundel of this basin is a seated allegorical figure of a graceful young woman presented as a personification. The branch she holds up appears to be a laurel, though it has been read as an olive branch, a traditional attribute of peace. To her right and left appear to be two books on an altartable and then a white bird rising from golden flames, thus surely a phoenix. Drawing these motifs together suggests a reading as a personification of Christian resurrection, foretold in both the Old and New Testaments, tradionally symbolized by the phoenix that rises alive from the ashes, and celebrated with laurel, the enduring emblem in classical and Christian imagery honoring virtue and triumph. Surrounding the figure are bands with patterns of imaginary “grotesques,” figures influenced by the wall paintings from ancient palaces rediscovered in Rome in the late fifteenth century. The back is painted white with yellow-ochre concentric circles, and one raised circle at the rim. Maiolica basins would have been paired with a matching ewer and were used for the rinsing of hands before and between courses at meals. This basin was produced by the Patanazzi family workshop, the most prominent maiolica workshop in Urbino during the late sixteenth century. To see more works by the Patanazzi family workshop, click on the name in the creator field; for more examples of maiolica basins, see 48.2112, 48.1510, 48.1320, 48.1322, and 48.1501; for more information on “maiolica” in general, see 48.1336.
Provenance De Courmont Collection [date and mode of acqusition unknown] (?); Seligmann, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, May 11, 1908, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1908
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