Guido Durantino and workshop
(Italian, Urbino, 16th century)
Platter from the Service of Anne, Duke of Montmorency
maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)
11.88 in diameter
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Glasgow and Mrs. E.A. Rennolds in Memory of Mr. and Mrs. John Kerr Branch, and Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund, by exchange
Commissioned by Anne, Duke of Montmorency, this platter belongs to a service of maiolica painted with scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Guido Durantino, who supervised its production, operated one of the most renowned maiolica manufacturers in Italy, an Urbino workshop that attracted patrons from across Europe.
The Duke of Montmorency, named after his mother, Queen Anne of Brittany, served under the French kings Francis I, Henry II, and Charles IX. As the most powerful minister in Francis’s government, the duke oversaw military affairs, the royal household, public works, and foreign relations. His war campaigns into Italy likely acquainted him with Guido Durantino’s workshop.
The duke’s coat of arms, displaying a red cross surrounded by sixteen blue eagles, is featured in the center of each platter of this service. This particular platter illustrates the attack led by King Minos on the town of Megara to avenge the death of his son. The daughter of the king of Megara commits treason out of love for King Minos and delivers her kingdom into the hands of the enemy. On the lower right side of the platter, King Minos is shown leading his army from their encampment to the walls of Megara. An archer on the lower left points his arrow at two women in silhouette standing on the ramparts.