Plate with the Abduction of Helen

Object Details

Title:

Plate with the Abduction of Helen

Artist/Maker(s):

Francesco Xanto Avelli (Italian, 1486/1487 - about 1544)

Culture:

Italian

Place(s):

Urbino, Italy (Place created)

Date:

1534

Medium:

Tin-glazed earthenware

Dimensions:

6.4 x 46 cm (2 1/2 x 18 1/8 in.)

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Francesco Xanto Avelli painted the entire surface of this large plate with a scene of the abduction of Helen by the Trojans. It shows the moment when Helen, the beautiful daughter of Zeus, is being forced into a boat by the Trojans. Her kidnapping caused a war between the Greeks and the men of Troy.

Xanto copied the scene from a popular engraving of Helen's abduction. Beginning in the mid-1400s, prints and engravings were widely available and were frequently adapted by artists to fit the circular shapes of ceramics. Xanto probably transferred the image by pricking the print with small holes, placing the cartoon against the ceramic surface, and then rubbing a dark powder on it, which would copy the lines of the image onto the plate when it passed through the holes.

The back of the plate is inscribed in blue with the date, the artist's signature, and a verse describing the mythological scene on the front.

Provenance
- 1978

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, November 21, 1978, lot 44, to Rainer Zietz Limited.]

1978 - 1984

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

Exhibitions
French Master Drawings (December 3, 1991 to February 16, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), December 3, 1991 to February 16, 1992
Bibliography

González-Palacios, Alvar, ed. Objects for a "Wunderkammer," exh. cat. (London: P.D. Colnaghi and Co., Ltd., 1981), pp. 124-25, no. 65.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), p. 243, no. 176.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 184.

Hess, Catherine. Italian Maiolica: Catalogue of the Collections (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), pp. 101-103, no. 31.

Bojani, Gian Carlo. Ceramiche nelle Marche (Bergamo, 1988), p. 129.

Roseo, Paola. "Gli istoriati della collezione Doria-Pamphilj." CermicaAntica 5, no. 10 (November 1995), fig. 19.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), no. 367.

Hess, Catherine. Italian Ceramics: Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002), pp. 166-69, no. 29.