The bowl's painting depicts the famous antique sculpture Laocoon on a pedestal in front of the black wall of a building against a landscape. There is an inscription on the pedestal: In Rome, in the Pope's Palace, in the room which people call the Belvedere. The sculptural group Laocoon was found in the catacombs on the Esquiline Hill in Rome in 1506. The antique sculpture shows the moment of the death of the Trojan soothsayer (or priest) Laocoon who warned the Trojans not to bring the wooden horse of the Greeks into the city. As a punishment for this, Laocoon and his two sons were strangled by two huge snakes sent by Athene who lent help to the Greeks (Virgil, The Aeneid, Book II). The interest in monuments of Classical Antiquity during the Renaissance is also reflected in majolica. The painting produced by a master of the circle of Nicola da Urbino was based on a 16th-century engraved depiction of the famous sculpture.
Bowl: The Laokoon
Place of creation:
painting over opaque white tin glaze
diam. 29 cm
Entered the Hermitage in 1920; formerly in the M.P. Botkin collection