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.
Global Luxury in Renaissance Venice
Gardiner Museum 2021-10-19 through 2022-05-29
The exhibition will explore renaissance Venice as a vibrant point of cultures and ideas. It will present Venetian maiolica in dialogue with a range of fine and decorative arts: from Chinese porcelain and Islamic metalwork to Venetian glass and painting, highlighting processess of exchange and adaptation, as well as rivalry and imitation across media. The exhibition will feature maiolica from the Gardiner Museum's collection, which will be enhanced by loans of ceramics, textiles, metalwork, glass, engravings, drawings, painting, and more.
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
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