Footed Beaker with Grotesque Decoration

Object Name: 
Footed Beaker with Grotesque Decoration

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Object Name: 
Footed Beaker with Grotesque Decoration
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 13.4 cm; Rim Diam: 10.3 cm; Foot Diam: 7.9 cm
On Display
about 1500
Credit Line: 
Bequest of Jerome Strauss
Web Description: 
“Grotesque,” commonly used to denote something bizarre or absurd, is essentially an art term. It specifies an ornament of tendrils intertwined with creatures composed of human, animal, and plant shapes. By the time of Raphael (1483–1520), artists in Italy rediscovered this decorative pattern, which had originated in ancient Rome. It survived in the Domus Aurea, the remains of which were buried in the ground and therefore described as grottoe. Hence the name “grotesque” (Italian, grottesca). Renaissance grotesque ornaments remained popular for at least 100 years. They provided infinite possibilities for fantastic designs. Grotesque ornaments usually did not bear hidden meanings. Instead, they were applied for decorative purposes. The colorful decoration of the footed beaker shown here consists of two pairs of intertwined figures of half-human and half-plant shape. We do not know whether the addorsed white heads of some animals (possibly dogs) on either side of the bowl were intended merely as decoration, or whether they had some additional function, such as a reference to a coat of arms.
Strauss, Jerome (1893-1978), Former Collection
Primary Description: 
Footed Beaker with Grotesque Decoration. Colorless. Blown; enameled, gilded. Beaker. Conical bowl with fire-polished rim, set directly on low, blown pedestal foot with infolded rim and with two pontil marks at its apex. First pontil mark was fire polished during second firing. Bowl is painted with two pairs of Triton like figures, wearing frills of green leaves around the head, and terminating below the waist in elaborate corolla of indented yellow leaves. Their flesh is painted in white, with some red hatching, and internal details are rendered in black line. Between and above each pair rise red and blue stems that cross and branch, at their tops, into fleshy scrolled foliage with white four petaled flowers. Each pair of figures is linked to other by curving green stem that they hold in their hands; stem is crosshatched in black and ends in large bell shaped flowers in blue and red, with smaller trefoils in turquoise. Above these, and below joined bodies of Triton-like figures, are four thin, scrolled branches with flowers, bracts, and leaves. Above lower border of conjoined yellow, blue, and red lines are two pairs of addorsed animal heads painted in white hatches with black. Below rim is gold border etched with two rows of scales, each fitted with red enamel dot; this is bounded, above and below, by lines of white dots enameled on glass. Foot is decorated with simulated gadrooning rendered by white petal forms shaded on one side by red line.
Renaissance Venice: Life and Luxury at the Crossroads
Gardiner Museum 2021-10-14 through 2022-01-09
Renaissance Venice was a multicultural metropolis where migration and mobility shaped the daily lives of its inhabitants. Its position at the crossroads of trade routes linking Europe to the Islamic World brought a continuous flow of commodities like pigments, spices, and luxury objects. In the homes of Venetians, these imported goods complemented locally-made products like maiolica, or tin-glazed earthenware. Renaissance Venice: Life and Luxury at the Crossroads recreates a sensory world of objects, foregrounding visual conversations across cultures as well as artisan trades as they took shape through the manipulation of materials, form, colour, and ornament. Featuring works ranging from Chinese porcelain and Islamic metalware to Venetian textiles and glass, this exhibition explores how objects connected cultures and geographies during the Renaissance. It questions the role of objects and images in stimulating significant forms of encounter, and more specifically, the role of ceramics in encapsulating cultural exchanges and intersections. This dynamic web of relationships forms the backdrop for the story of Venice’s maiolica industry as it developed throughout the 1500s. Key to its success was the influx of migrant artisans from other parts of the Italian peninsula, privileged access to materials, and vibrant market demand. At the forefront are the lived experiences of people across the social spectrum, from the makers of objects to the wealthy elites. Visitors are invited to step into the workshop of the potter-entrepreneur and engage in a counter-narrative that seeks to recover the experiences of Renaissance women from different walks of life. A global city in constant movement, Renaissance Venice parallels our own lives in many ways. Works by contemporary artists Lindsay Montgomery, Dorie Millerson, and Nadia Myre expand upon the connections between the present and the legacies of the past. Each brings a feminist critique that focuses, respectively, on story-telling traditions, domestic labour and exploitation, and Venice’s symbolic connection to the Americas and Indigenous Peoples through printed publications. Renaissance Venice: Life and Luxury at the Crossroads features over 110 objects including ceramic, glass, metalware, printed books, lace, velvets, carpets, painting, and prints. Participating lenders include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Corning Museum of Glass, The Royal Ontario Museum, the Aga Khan Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Bata Shoe Museum. The exhibition is accompanied by catalogue published by Hirmer Art Publishers.
The Yearning for Venetian Glass: Beauty that Traversed Oceans and Time
Suntory Museum of Art 2011-08-10 through 2011-10-10
50th Anniversary Commemorative Exhibition “Art revisited, beauty revealed” III
Maiolica in Renaissance Venice: Ceramics and Luxury at the Crossroads (2021) illustrated, p. 144;
The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian Glassworking (2016) illustrated, Fig. 72; BIB# 149619
Murano, island of glass (2nd edition) (2013) illustrated, p. 43; BIB# 149017
Le verre de Murano (2013) illustrated, pp. 42-43;
The Yearning for Venetian Glass: Beauty that Traversed Oceans and Time (2011) illustrated, p. 36;
Murano, island of glass (1st edition) (2003) p. 43; BIB# 78339
L'Arte del Vetro a Murano (2002) illustrated, p. 42-43; BIB# 71727
Mille Anni di Arte del Vetro a Venezia (1982) p. 92 ff., #90;
Three Great Centuries of Venetian Glass (1958) illustrated, pp. 44-46, no. 24; BIB# 63296