Ceramics

The sixteenth-century maiolica dish illustrating The Judgment of Paris, made in Urbino and attributed to Orazio Fontana — a gift of Dianne Dwyer Modestini — was treated for its display in the Enamels Room and for a subsequent exhibition, Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop.

The ceramic body is buff-colored earthenware and was most likely mold made. The object was first fired before the application of a tin glaze (lead glaze opacified by tin oxide), which gives the ceramic its beautiful white ground. The main istoriato scene and grotesques around the rim were painted by applying various metal oxides onto the unfired glazed surface. This wet-on-wet application has been compared to fresco painting and requires a sure hand. The dish has two radial cracks, a break at the rim, and small losses to the glaze. In addition, the overall surface was soiled, and previous restorations were discolored and in need of treatment. The ceramic was first cleaned with a diluted solution of deionized water and a nonionic detergent using swabs. Then the old discolored overpaint was removed using appropriate solvents and previous fills were resurfaced and in-painted to match the surrounding area.

Before Conservation After Conservation
Before
 
Before