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Height: 39.000 cm
Width: 22.000 cm
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
Ippolito Rombaldoni, Virgin and Child, a maiolica plaque
Urbania, Marche, Italy; dated AD 1670
Maiolica is tin-glazed earthenware. A glaze containing tin oxide produces an opaque white brilliant surface. It hides the clay body and produces a surface that is very like porcelain, and can be decorated. Tin-glazed earthenware in Europe is commonly known as maiolica, faience or Delftware according to where it was made.
By the early seventeenth century the earlier Italian dominance of istoriato ('story-painted') maiolica had passed to workshops in France and the Low Countries (modern-day Holland, Belgium and northern France). The istoriato style did, however, continue in such areas of Italy as the Marches and Tuscany, which had been the renowned districts for the production of maiolica in the mid-sixteenth century. The town of Castel Durante, one of the traditional centres for the production of istoriato ware, had been renamed Urbania by Pope Urban VIII in 1636.
This plaque is signed and dated on the back by Ippolito Rombaldoni, the most significant painter still producing istoriato ware in the Marches in the seventeenth century. Three other signed pieces by Rombaldoni are known. The scene is taken from a print by Francesco Brizio after a painting by Agostino Carracci (1557-1602).