The Frick Collection
Maiolica dish with The Judgment of Paris after Raphael, Fontana workshop, c. 1565, tin-glazed earthenware, The Frick Collection, gift of Dianne Dwyer Modestini in memory of Mario Modestini
 
Special Exhibition
 

Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop
September 15, 2009, through January 17, 2010

Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop September 15, 2009, through January 17, 2010

Although it was not until 2008 that the first piece of maiolica entered The Frick Collection, it was an extraordinary debut: a large dish painted with a narrative scene, or istoriato, inspired by Marcantonio Raimondi's print after The Judgment of Paris by Raphael. This scene is surrounded by colorful grotesques delicately painted on a white ground, a specialty of the renowned workshop of Orazio Fontana in Urbino, to which the best pieces are usually attributed.

  Maiolica dish with The Judgment of Paris after Raphael, Fontana workshop, c. 1565, tin-glazed earthenware, The Frick Collection, gift of Dianne Dwyer Modestini in memory of Mario Modestini
 

Maiolica dish with The Judgment of Paris after Raphael, Fontana workshop, c. 1565, tin-glazed earthenware, The Frick Collection, gift of Dianne Dwyer Modestini in memory of Mario Modestini

This new acquisition — a gift to The Frick Collection by Dianne Dwyer Modestini in memory of her husband, Mario Modestini — is the inspiration for a small focus exhibition on the Fontana workshop's highly decorative maiolica painted with delicate grotesques on a whitened ground. The Frick Collection's piece is shown along with five related works on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The exhibition illustrates the technical and artistic excellence reached in the Fontana workshop in the third quarter of the sixteenth century. This presentation of pieces of different shapes will provide an opportunity for visitors to view the richness of table services made in maiolica for the Renaissance aristocracy.

The exhibition organized by Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow Charlotte Vignon is accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, including detailed entries and an essay on the history of collecting Renaissance maiolica.

The exhibition is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The accompanying catalogue has been generously underwritten by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.