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Dish with God creating the animals

Girolamo di Lanfranco, workshop of

Pesaro, 1540

32.9 cm (diameter)

tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

On the reverse is a confused inscription, 1540 Chriavite animallis Christtus fatto in pesaro (Creation of the animals - Christ - made in Pesaro). The composition, illustrating Genesis, chapter 1, is adapted from an engraving by an associate of Marcantonio Raimondi [see illustration], which is in turn derived from Raphael's design for the Vatican Loggias, which were planned in the years before the painter's death in 1520 and finished by Giulio Romano and other pupils of Raphael's afterwards.

There were close links between the potteries of Pesaro, Urbino, and Castel Durante throughout the Renaissance and they are sometimes collectively called the “Metauro School”, after the river which runs through the district. Despite a difference in the handwriting of the respective inscriptions, this dish is probably by the same painter as a dish of crucial documentary importance, given by Fortnum to the British Museum in 1888 and marked as made in the workshop of Girolamo dalle Gabicce in Pesaro in 1544 (Wilson 1987, no. 96). Girolamo's workshop was the most important producer of istoriato maiolica in Pesaro, particularly in the 1540s, 1540 being the earliest date found on any marked piece of Pesaro maiolica. Fortnum noted the absurdity of a conventionalized town in the background of a Creation scene, considering the dish “an unattractive but important piece”.

Presented by C. D. E. Fortnum, 1888.  WA1888.CDEF.C418

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