Figure (Beltrame di Milano [?])

Object Details

Title:

Figure (Beltrame di Milano [?])

Artist/Maker(s):

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (German, active 1710 - present)

Culture:

German

Place(s):

Meissen, Germany (Place created)

Date:

about 1720

Medium:

Hard-paste porcelain

Dimensions:

16.5 x 6.8 x 6.7 cm (6 1/2 x 2 11/16 x 2 5/8 in.)

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Characters from touring Italian theater groups known as the commedia dell'arteinspired sculptors at the Meissen porcelain manufactory from 1720 on. Beginning in the Renaissance, performances of various comedies by the professional actors' guild, or arte, had offered an entirely new form of entertainment, and this form of theater became increasingly popular in the 1700s. Commediacompanies traveled and performed throughout Western Europe; actors entertained their audiences with music, dancing, and acrobatics combined with dramatic stories told with improvised dialogue. Theater-loving Europeans collected porcelain examples of their favorite characters from the commedia dell' arte, either singly or in groups, to ornament their dining tables and other areas of the home.

This figure represents Beltrame di Milano, a wistful blind character from one of the more popular comedies. His theatrical pose and gesture enliven the unpainted porcelain.

Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1986." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 15 (1987), p. 215, no. 112.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), p. 237, no. 413.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 66, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 170, no. 333.