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Dish with a woman and an inscription

Deruta, c. 1520

40.8cm (diameter)

tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

The inscription, translated, reads "O face that is an ambush for my eyes". On her breast is a double-headed eagle, the emblem of the Holy Roman Empire.

The profile is a fine example of a standard Deruta type. It has been thought to be derived from a figure in Pintoricchio's fresco of The Visitation in the Borgia Apartments in the Vatican, but recent work (Busti and Cocchi 2004, pp. 106-11) has shown that a more likely source is Perugino’s fresco of the Eritrean Sybil in the Collegio del Cambio, Perugia [see illustration]. The inscription is a citation from Ovid (Sappho's Epistle to Phaon, Heroides XV, 22).

Lent from the Barlow Collection.  LI206.10

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