The dark blue ground of the plate is painted with a grotesque pattern of winged monsters and dolphins, a mascaron, vase and a decorative motif in the form of an ox skull (bucrane). Grotesque (Italian grottesco - fanciful, from grotta - grotto) ornament is composed of fanciful combinations of flowers, figures of people and animals, masks, buildings and various decorative motifs. This type of decor became extremely popular after the Renaissance masters had got acquainted with the antique paintings and reliefs of the Golden House of Emperor Nero that turned out to be under the ground and was uncovered at the end of the 15th century. These Roman ruins were called grottoes, hence the term appeared. The grotesques delicately performed and aptly inscribed into the form of the plate are arranged symmetrically and represent the type of composition called a candelieri (candelabrum). The decor of the plate with large motifs tightly filling the ground belongs to the early examples of grotesque painting of the first decades of the 16th century.
Plate with a Depiction of Large Grotesques
Place of creation:
painting over opaque white tin glaze
diam. 21,5 cm
Entered the Hermitage in 1885; formerly in the A.P. Basilewski collection