Victoria and Albert: An Urbino Maiolica grotesque
Cipriano Piccolpasso writing on the potter’s art around 1557 observed that ‘grotesques have almost fallen out of use, and I don’t know why; it is a delicate style of painting”. This maginificent example belies his report. The central scene wittily alludes to the dish’s function: it shows the biblical episode when the Children of Israel miraculously receive food from heaven. Italy, Urbino, 1560-1580, Fontana Workshop, about 2 feet across.