Circle of Nicola da Urbino (Italian, active by 1520–died ?1537/38); lustered in the workshop of Maestro Giorgio Andreoli (Gubbio)
Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica), with luster
Diam. 18 5/16 in. (46.5 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.1103)
Felice della Rovere (d. 1536) was the illegitimate daughter of Pope Julius II. In 1506, she married the Roman nobleman Giangiordano Orsini, lord of Bracciano, and their arms appear together on this splendid dish. In 1528, the date painted on the reverse, Felice was a widow. A few years earlier, Isabella d'Este, marchioness of Mantua, was given a set of maiolica when already a widow, and it may be that maiolica was thought to be a proper gift for a noble widow. For this piece, the painter has relied on a print by Marcantonio Raimondi for his composition. It illustrates the scene described by Saint Luke (7:36–50) of Christ at supper in the house of Simon Pharisee, during which Mary Magdalene dried his feet with her hair.