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Dish with Aeneas at Carthage

Guido di Merlino

Urbino, 1545

25.5cm (diameter)

tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

Inscribed on the reverse, ala citta dido piŕ da mirati˘ il b˘ troiano (the good Trojan full of wonder in the city of Dido) and 1545. The dish illustrates a scene from Virgil's Aeneid, book 1. After fleeing the destruction of Troy, Aeneas arrived with his companions at Carthage. There he encountered the story of the fall of the city depicted on a temple frieze and, in one of Virgil's most famous lines, was moved to exclaim, Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt (here are tears for the state of things and mortal matters touch the heart).

The design is derived from a vignette in an engraving known as the Quos Ego, by Marcantonio Raimondi after a design by Raphael. Perspectively virtuoso ideal cityscapes were a subject of interest in Urbino court art from the time of Federico da Montefeltro in the late 15th century. The dish has been considerably overpainted.

Lent from the Barlow Collection.  LI206.16