- Museum number
Dish or bowl on low foot. Earthenware covered front and back with presumed tin glaze. Painted with a landscape with a river god on the left; at the top an upturned chariot with four horses; from the chariot falls the naked figure of Phaethon. Subject derived from Ovid. The edge painted yellow outside a black line.
- Production date
Diameter: 26.80 centimetres
Height: 5.40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Thornton & Wilson 2009
The river god is based on a print detail dated 1515. See P&D registration no. 1854,0614.391.
The Greek myth of Phaeton, impetuous son of the sun god Helios, is depicted on this maiolica dish. While Apollo was associated with solar light and its influence on mankind, Helios personified the sun. He had one son, Phaeton who, in an effort to prove his divinity, persuaded his father to let him drive the sun-chariot for a day. Phaeton was unable to control the horses, and the sun-chariot came too close to the earth; rivers dried up and crops withered. Phaeton had to be destroyed with a thunderbolt and he is shown here at this point of the story - a vulnerable, naked boy, falling from the sky. The semi-naked figure on the left with a vase of water is a river god; a personification of the waters of Eridanus into which Phaeton fell.
Bibliography: Rasmussen 1980 p.85.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
1989 12 Sep-15 Oct, Glasgow, Art Gallery & Museum, Ceramics for the Italian Renaissance
1989 22 Jan-2 Apr, Stoke-on-Trent, City Museum & Art Gallery, Ceramic Art of the Italian Renaissance
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Fall of Phaethon
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Bernal Sale lot 2021 Christie's 5 March - 30 April 1855.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: BL.2021