Wednesday - 20 August 2014

Majoring on maiolica – Xanto at the Wallace Collection

22 January 2007Written by ATG Reporter

As recent London sales have demonstrated, demand for top-class Italian maiolica is on something of a roll. There is an international roster of collectors who are attracted to this colourful ceramic version of Italian Old Master painting.

This interest is only enhanced by discoveries and scholarship such as the exhibition that opens at London's Wallace Collection this week devoted to one of the best-known ceramic artists of the Renaissance era: Francesco Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (c1486-1542). This is the first ever exhibition dedicated to Xanto, who worked mainly at the court of Urbino, and it has been curated by John Mallett, who is an authority on the artist.

Almost 60 historiato-decorated tablewares by or attributed to him have been gathered together, including loans from seven other institutions, and they show how Xanto drew not just on classic mythology for his inspiration but also contemporary events such as the Sack of Rome by Emperor Charles V or the Battle of Pavia.

Xanto was the epitome of a Renaissance man, he not only inscribed the dishes that he painted but he also wrote poetry, and the exhibition features 44 sonnets that he dedicated to Francesco Maria I Della Rovere, Duke of Urbino.

Xanto runs at the Wallace Collection from January 25 to April 15. Tel 44 (0) 20 7563 9500 for further information.

The exhibition is accompanied by a major catalogue featuring a comprehensive listing of Xanto's work. There is also a two-day symposium on March 23 and 24, priced at £40, at which John Mallett will be among the speakers.

Tel: 0207563 9551 for booking information.

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