Jar with a Woman and Geese

Object Details


Jar with a Woman and Geese






Faenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, Europe (Place created)


early 16th century


Tin-glazed earthenware

Object Number:



24.8 × 16.8 × 12.9 cm (9 3/4 × 6 5/8 × 5 1/16 in.)

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It is hard to imagine that this ceramic jar, or albarello, was influenced by Islamic artistry, because the colors and scene painted on it are distinctly European. The jar depicts a woman in a peasant dress holding a distaff to spin wool, as she walks in a grassy field with several geese that appear to be fighting. Although scholars are uncertain about the meaning of this image, it is based on well-established European traditions of narrative painting.

This cylindrical structure and its white finish, however, reflect Islamic innovations. The albarello form was popular in the Islamic world and from there arrived in Europe where it also became widespread. Aside from the jar's shape, its brilliant painting was made possible by the use of tin-based glazes, invented in the Middle East to mimic the prized look of Chinese porcelain. Tin glazes produce a smooth, white surface on which brightly colored pigments can be applied.

- 1913

J. Pierpont Morgan, Sr., 1837 - 1913, by descent to J. Pierpont Morgan, Jr.

1913 - 1916

J. Pierpont Morgan, Jr., 1867 - 1943, passed to Duveen Brothers, 1916.


Duveen Brothers, Inc., sold to Joseph E. Widener, 1916.
Source: Duveen Brothers, Records, 1876 - 1981, Getty Research Institute, Special Collections, no. M.M.87, boxes 164 and 193.

1916 - 1944

Joseph E. Widener [sold, Samuel T. Freeman and Co., Philadelphia, June 20, 1944, lots 326, 327.]


French and Company, Inc.

- 1965

Dr. Robert Bak [sold, Sotheby's, London, December 7, 1965, lot 54, to "Goldbaum" (according to a sale catalogue notation).]

1965 -


- 1979

Benjamin Sonnenberg [sold, Sotheby's, New York, June 5, 1979, lot 356.]

- 1984

Rainer Zietz Limited, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Italian Renaissance Maiolica from the William A. Clark Collection (March 5 to May 17, 1987)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), March 5 to May 17, 1987
L'arte del Vasaio: The Italian Renaissance Potter's Art (February 5, 1991 to January 4, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), February 5, 1991 to January 5, 1992
The Arts of Fire: Islamic Influences on the Italian Renaissance (May 4 to September 5, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 4 to September 4, 2004

Rackham, Bernard. "A New Chapter in the History of Italian Maiolica." Burlington Magazine 27 (April and May 1915), p. 50.

Inventory of the Objets d'Art at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Estate of the Late P.A.B. Widener (Philadelphia: privately printed, 1935), pp. 67-68.

Bellini, Mario and Giovanni Conti. Maioliche italiace del rinascimento (Milan, 1964), p. 100, pls. A, C.

Rasmussen, Jörg. Italienische Majolika (Hamburg, 1984), pp. 84, 86.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), p. 241, no. 163.

Hess, Catherine. Italian Maiolica: Catalogue of the Collections (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), pp. 75-81, no. 24.

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. 181, no. 360.

Hess, Catherine. Italian Ceramics: Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002), pp. 118-27, no. 21.

Hess, Catherine, ed. The Arts of Fire: Islamic Influences on Glass and Ceramics of the Italian Renaissance, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004), pp. 146-47, pl. 36.