Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop, September 15, 2009, through January 17, 2010
Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop is the latest in a critically acclaimed series of dossier presentations organized by the Frick. The project takes a rare focused look at this family workshop by presenting several outstanding and innovative examples of sixteenth-century Italian maiolica dating between 1565 and 1575. Each object features the distinctive combination of a central narrative istoriato scene surrounded by delicate grotesques on a white ground. The incorporation of these grotesques, used first in the Renaissance on the walls of the Vatican loggias painted by Raphael in 1519, was translated in Urbino to the ornamentation of luxury maiolica wares. For fifty years, from 1560 to the beginning of the seventeenth century, they were considered the most fashionable decoration to be found on these ceramics.