Figure (Beltrame di Milano [?])

Object Details


Figure (Beltrame di Milano [?])


Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (German, active 1710 - present)




Meissen, Germany (Place created)


about 1720


Hard-paste porcelain


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.