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Dish with a woman and an inscription
Deruta, c. 1520
27.8 cm (diameter); cm (diameter)
tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)
The inscription, translated, reads “O face that is an ambush for my eyes”. On her breast is a double-headed eagle, the emblem of the Holy Roman Empire.
The profile is a fine example of a standard Deruta type. It has been thought to be derived from a figure in Pintoricchio's fresco of The Visitation in the Borgia Apartments in the Vatican, but recent work (Busti and Cocchi 2004, pp. 106-11) has shown that a more likely source is Perugino’s fresco of the Eritrean Sybil in the Collegio del Cambio, Perugia [see illustration]. The inscription is a citation from Ovid (Sappho's Epistle to Phaon, Heroides XV, 22).
Lent from the Barlow Collection. LI206.10