47. Urbino Plate – Narrative (Istoriato) Painting, Francesco Xanto 1532

Urbino (Italy) 16th - Lehman Collection Metropolitan Museum NY

Plate from Urbino dated and signed by Francesco Xanto Avelli da Rovigo, 1532. The scene represents Phaethon’s sisters (the Heliads) being changed into elms and his friend Cygnus into a swan. The shield of Pucci of Florence in the center of the plate. On the back inscribed in Latin –“into a swan and Clymene’s daughters changed into elms / Ovid’s Metamorphoses”, (bibliography: Italian Majolica in the Robert Lehman Collection – Jorg Rasmussen, 1989). This completely new style of decorating pottery with stories from classical myths of the Bible emerged in Italy at the end of the 15th century. Known as istoriato, the style flourished in the Duke of Urbino’s lands, where several pottery painters established workshops.

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