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Plate Depicting the Month of May
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Plate Depicting the Month of May

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description In the foreground of a renaissance garden sit three maidens, their breasts uncovered. Two are weaving garlands and singing to the accompaniment of the lute played by the girl who sits between them. In the garden beyond a fourth maiden picks flowers, while in a grape arbor near her a chorus of five men is singing from a music-book placed on a round table. Beyond the tree and the garden hedge is a distant landscape with a walled town and, on the right, a couple riding a horse. In the clouds appear the Gemini, the sign of the zodiac for the month of May. The rim is decorated with four masks, alternating with pairs of grotesque two-horned dragons flanking covered cups. Gilt scrollwork ornaments the cavetto. The reverse of the plate shows six panels of interlaced strapwork, three with terms, and three with flaming urns. On the edge is a laurel wreath executed in gilding. Between the panels and the edge the surface is filled with gilt scrollwork. This plate is part of a set of dessert plates illustrating the months of the year. The source of the design is a combination of two prints representing the month of May included in two allegorical sets of Twelve Months of the year published by Etienne Delaune in 1561 and 1568, respectively. There are also additions from other sources, including enamels by Pierre Reymond and Pierre Courteys adapting the designs of Etienne Delaune.
  • Special Exhibition of the Works of Art of the Mediaeval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods. South Kensington Museum, London. 1862.
Provenance Henry Durlacher Collection [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; F. Spitzer Sale, Paris, April 17, 1893, lot 570; William T. / Henry Walters Collection, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters

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ca. 1555-1585 (Renaissance)
painted enamels on copper
Accession Number
Diam: 7 13/16 in. (19.8 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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