The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 14, 2024

Table Fountain

Table Fountain

c. 1320–40
Overall: 33.8 x 25.4 x 26 cm (13 5/16 x 10 x 10 1/4 in.)

Did You Know?

This fountain with its minute architectural details and finely made enamel plaques displayed the wealth and refinement of the owner as it entertained his guests. Imagine hearing the ringing of the tiny bells when this fountain was in use.

Description

Conceptually and stylistically, this object is beyond all else a piece of Gothic architecture in miniature with vaults, pinnacles, columns, and traceried arches. Though the artist who created it is unknown, he was unquestionably inspired by the great Gothic buildings of his time.
The table fountain is a three-tiered assembly combining cast elements with bent sheets of gilt-silver. To these have been attached a series of enamel plaques representing grotesque figures, some of which play musical instruments. Water wheels and bells were added to capture motion and sound.
The rich detail, precious materials, and involved ornamentation of this deluxe object suggest it would have been expensive to produce and highly treasured by its original owner, someone of high status, and would have been deployed as an object of spectacle. This is the most complete example of its type known to survive from the Middle Ages. Medieval inventories reveal that small fountains like this, often taking various forms, and generally made from precious metals, once existed in large numbers, thus making the Cleveland table fountain an extremely rare object.
  • ?-1924
    (M. & R. Stora, Paris, France, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    1924-
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
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    The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1925. Mentioned and Reproduced: p. 16 archive.org
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  • Myth and Mystique: Cleveland's Gothic Table Fountain. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 9, 2016-February 26, 2017).
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    Treasures of Medieval France. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (November 16, 1966-January 29, 1967).
    Gothic Art 1360-1440. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (August 6-September 15, 1963).
    The International Style: The Arts in Europe around 1400. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD (organizer) (October 23-December 2, 1962).
    The International Style: The Arts in European around 1400, The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD (October 23 - December 2, 1962).
    The Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition: The Official Art Exhibit of the Great Lakes Exposition. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (June 26-October 4, 1936).
  • {{cite web|title=Table Fountain|url=false|author=|year=c. 1320–40|access-date=14 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

Source URL:

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1924.859