Superb oval shaped plate

Patanazzi workshoop

Urbino, 16th century

Material: High fire decorated Italian pottery

Size: 41 x 31 cm

review by gherardo turchi

The noteworthy oval glazed pottery we’re going to analyse is finely adorned with a religious scene, in accordance to the Holy Scriptures. God feeding the Israelites some manna is depicted.

Because of its vividly bright paints and its large-sized characters, the plate was certainly realized at Patanazzi’s. Such a workshop was one of the most thriving in Urbino in the sixteenth century. Several ancient books mentioned the family as some of its members, like the pottery worker Xanto Avelli, were very renowned artists at that time.

Such amazing artworks were realized at Patanazzi’s, just like the hugely refined sixteenth century plate we’re analysing. The vivid colours, like blue and yellow especially, and the mythological and religious motifs most of their items are finely decorated with can surely prove that.

Some plates like this belong today to Sforza Castle collection in Milan, although we could appreciate similar items at Pesaro Civic Museum as well.

Focusing on the artwork we’re analysing, we can notice a Manganese blue sign bearing Joseph at its back. The artist is then meant to have used it to represent the whole front scene with Moses’ name only.

He is depicted in the left half of the oval core of the plate. Coming back from Mount Sinai with the Tables of the Law, Moses is talking to the Israelites asking for some food. He’s warning them he’s just asked God’s help, which will soon take the shape of manna, the main sign of his mercy to the Chosen People.   

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