Nicola da Urbino (Italian, active by 1520died ?1537/38)
Majolica; Diam. 10 7/8 in. (27.5 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.1019)
This plate is one of twenty-one surviving pieces of the most famous and elaborate maiolica service of the Renaissance, painted for Isabella d'Este, marchioness of Mantua, by Nicolò da Urbino, the most celebrated maiolica painter of his generation. The center of this dish shows Isabella's coat of arms surrounded by three of her personal emblems: a musical scroll, a candelabrum with one lit candle, and a bunch of lottery tickets. On the rim is a portrayal of the musical contest between Apollo and Pan judged by King Midas, a subject recounted in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The subtle draftsmanship, coloring, and delicate execution of the expansive landscape setting reveal the artist's consummate skill. Another piece from this service is also in the Robert Lehman Collection.