The 16th century ceramic production was characterized by the “beautiful Style”, an achievement of the decorations already outlined in the late 15th century which became more refined and bright.
During the century, the Oriental influences became evident in the “porcelain style”, a decoration recalling the “blue and white” motifs of the Ming porcelains, characterized by elegant vegetal patterns surrounding central subjects, both Oriental inspired such as the “shell” and typical of the Renaissance.
The human figures became more popular in the majolica decorative repertoire, first the images were simple and idealized such as the lady portraits in the “love vessels”, than they became more complex and descriptive. The “istoriato” style represented the climax of the Renaissance majolica reaching new and highly evolved technical characteristics and paintings such as allegorical, mythological, religious and historical subjects, often based on illustrated books and printings. The workshops in the towns of Deruta and Gubbio, in Umbria, carried on the lusterware technique, from the ancient Islamic tradition. In Faenza and Venice the potters developed the “berettino” style characterized by a particular grey-blue glazed background of the majolica wares, decorated with grotesque motifs, trophies, leaves and twists. Around the middle of the century the majolica production reached extraordinary results in the decorations and brightness of colors: the so called “floral style”.
Dish with “Darius’s family in front of Alessandro the Great”
Giovan Battista Dalle Palle
15 January 1563
cm 5.5 x Ø 39
The big “istoriato” displaying dish represents the episode of “Darius’s family in front of Alessandro the Great”. In the battle of Isso in 333 a.C. Alessandro the Great defeated the Darius III army and took as prisoners Darius’s wife, Statira, her mother Sisigambi, and their daughters, all represented in the picture in front of the Macedonian king’s military camp. This elaborated majolica is made by Giovan Battista Dalle Palle, artist coming from a family of potters working in Faenza, whose works were made between Faenza and Verona around 1560-1563, while the last information about the artist dates back to 1573, date of his last will. The dish is made with bright colors following the Mannerism style and is decorated with the coat of arms of Mazza’s family in Pesaro.
Dish with the coat of arms of Pope Paolo III Farnese
cm 9.5 x Ø 42.5
cm 2.3 x Ø 23.8