Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop
September 15, 2009, through January 17, 2010
Pair of Vases, Biblical Scenes from the Old Testament
Urbino or Turin, c. 1565–70 workshop of Orazio Fontana
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Purchased with the Bloomﬁeld Moore Fund and other museum funds, 1944
These two vases are among a small number of pieces signed “made in Urbino in the workshop of Orazio Fontana.” The large medallions on each vase illustrate episodes from the Old Testament, including the First Plague, when the “river and other water sources turned to blood, killing all ﬁsh and other water life,” and the building of the Tower of Babel. Similar medallions, on the other side of each vase, depict Egyptians digging wells in search of pure water and, possibly, the departure of Abraham, his wife, Sarah, and his brother’s son Lot for the land of Canaan.