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Work Round Dish with Boss
Department of Decorative Arts: Renaissance
Platter: Moses and Jethro
© Musée du Louvre / Objets d'Art
Signed by Pierre Reymond and dated 1569, this monochrome dish is one of the masterpieces of painted enamel tableware from Limoges. In the early eighteenth century, it was listed in the collection of Anton Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick (1633-1714). The pale grisaille, the decoration around the rim - showing a lively series of fantastic creatures - and the pattern on the reverse combining garlands of fruit, cartouches and masks are characteristic of Pierre Reymond's work in the 1560s.
This large dish, painted in grisaille on a black ground, originally featured a central boss, now lost. Formerly part of the collection of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-89), it belonged to the Duke of Brunswick in the eighteenth century, before being brought back to France by Napoleon's army. A second round dish with a boss by Pierre Reymond, from the same collection, remains in Brunswick (Braunschweig) today. Dated 1569, the latter depicts the Biblical story of Joseph, painted in colored enamels, and was probably made after the dish in the Louvre.
Painted enamel tableware
Painted enamel tableware was at the height of its popularity in the second half of the sixteenth century. These fragile, purely decorative dishes were intended to embellish dressers placed in the dining-rooms of high-ranking members of society.
The present dish is Pierre Reymond's masterpiece: the balanced disposition of the figures, the vivacity and inventiveness of the monstrous creatures around the rim, the arrangement of cartouches and masks on the reverse, and the significance of the story depicted, make it the enameler's most important work. Here, he has transcribed a series of characters from engravings by Bernard Salomon (1505-61), based on the Biblical account of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses (Book of Exodus).
An enameler from the French city of Limoges, Reymond was active from 1537-78, while also occupying a number of official posts from 1546-68. His style evolved from a lightly-tinted grisaille technique, to grisaille highlighted only in red and gold. His later works feature polychrome enamels in a notably altered style: the figures seem to be based on a quite different set of models, or to have been executed by less expert hands.
Platter: Moses and Jethro
Painted enamel on copper
Diam. 46.50 cm; H. 4.50 cm
Former Brunswick collection; confiscated in 1806
Display case 3
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