The Renaissance Age

Dish with “Ippolito and  Fedra”

Baldassarre Manara 


1535 ca.


cm 4 x Ø 24

The “istoriato” dish represents three moments of the episode taken from Ovidio’s Metamorphosis of “Hippolytus and Phaedra”. On the left, Theseus  together with his wife Phaedra, banishes his son Hippolytus, unfairly accused by Phaedra to have seduced her. Hippolytus, frightened by his father, runs away on a carriage pulled by horses, but Poseidon, called by Theseus,  makes him fall down into the sea.  The final scene represents Phoebe who tenderly makes him come back to life. The author is Baldassarre Manara, outstanding artist for the production and dissemination of the Faenza “istoriato” style. The myth subject is coherent with the inspiration sources of the master, who used, for this work, a cartoon coming from the  Ovidio’s edition published in Venise  in 1522 by Nicolò Degli Agostini. Thanks to a delicate and suggestive  painting on a “berettino” glaze, Baldassare Manara improved the former rigid paintings coming from the engravings, contemporary sources of inspiration, offering sacred and profane histories.

Dish with  “Perseo cutting Medusa’s head”

Nicola da  Urbino


1535-1538 ca.

Majolica cm 2 x Ø 28

Nicola di Gabriele Sbraghe, called Nicola da  Urbino, was one of the best painters of  Raphaelesque” decorations on majolica. The “istoriato” scene portraying “Perseus cutting Medusa’s head”  is developed in front  of a triumphal arch. The legend says that Perseus promised to the king Polidette Medusa’s head as a wedding gift. The mythic Greek hero was able to kill Medusa, who could turn men into stone through her gaze, thanks to  Athena’s help, who gave him a shield through which he  could look at Medusa sideways and to Mercury who gave him a sickle to hit her. After Medusa was decapitated, from her blood Pegasus, the mythical winged horse, arose. The artist put the scene inside  a classical architecture, a recurring element in his production, and showed a deep appreciation  for the antique world and for Raphael’s art. The refined colors, the bright atmosphere and the accurate drawing, remark the excellent results reached during the thirties of 16th century by Nicola da Urbino and his entourage.

Bowl with  “Hercules and Centaurs”

Argo  painter


1540 about.


cm 5 x Ø 26.5

The “istoriato” pianting represents the scene of “Hercules and the Centaurs” facing each others in a landscape with a high cliff and buildings. Coming back from his fifth “effort” (the cleaning of Augia’s stables), Hercules killed the centaur Euritione to free King Dessameno’s daughter from her forced marriage with him.  In the center of the bowl there is Hercules, with a cudgel and dressed with the typical lion leather, killing Euritione centaur, while the other centaurs are firing arrows against the hero. These powerful figures are accurately taken from an engraving by Gian Giacomo Caraglio, inspired by Rosso Fiorentino’s work and belongs to the series of Hercules’ efforts, while the  surrounding landscapeis an invention of the painter-potter, working in Pesaro around 1540.