Tin-glazed earthenware with gold luster (maiolica)
Diameter: 26.3 cm (10 3/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1950.155
Today, the Palazzo Vitelleschi, home of the Vitelleschi family in Tarquinia, a coastal town north of Rome, is an archaeological museum.
Italian nobles of the 1500s often expressed their wealth, social status, and sophistication by ordering large sets of maiolica that sometimes carried their coats of arms or even likenesses, usually in profile as in portraits of the period. Reserved for use at festival events such as a wedding or commissioned to mark a special occasion or an important visit, elaborately decorated utilitarian vessels in maiolica were prized as works of art by their owners and displayed as such in their residences.
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