Dish (Coppa) with Dancing Putti

Bottega di Guido Durantino

Urbino, first half of Sixteenth century

Polychrome maiolica istoriato, 27 x 5.2cm

Inv. 1996

The Galleria Estense, Modena

The scene in the foreground shows dancing putti, a quintessentially Renaissance subject that has been portrayed in various artistic mediums, of which the famous Gonzaga Tapestries are a lavish example. The framework of the scene derives from an 1517-20 burin engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi after a sketch by Raphael for the Loggia di Psiche at the Villa Farnesina. Cesare Remondino (active between 1531 and 1546)used the same composition  with a different  number of putti and the addition of arches and ancient ruins in the background which one also sees in the Este plate.

Any reference to wares produced in Urbino inevitably brings to mind the creations of maiolica artist Nicolò Pellipario (also known as Nicola da Urbino, Casteldurante c.1475 – Urbino 1547) who was active in Casteldurante until 1525 and later in Urbino at the workshop of his son, Guido Durantino (active in Urbino from 1525 - 1576). The attribution of this plate to Durantino’s workshop is convincing as in composition and the rendering of colours and anatomy it recalls  objects from his workshop now in various collections, an in particular a cup at  Louvre Museum in which the same floor motif can be identified.