Majolica jug

Urbino, Patanazzi workshop, Jug, majolica, 1585 circa (inv. maioliche 4073)

Location: Rocchetta, 2nd floor, Room XXX

Among the numerous and remarkable pieces that make up the Castle’s considerable ceramics collection, this majolica jug stands out for the refinement of the decorations. The jug has been attributed to the Patanazzi workshop in Urbino, which produced majolicas of great renown in the second half of the 16th century.
The jug was part of a service inscribed with the motto ARDET IN AETERNUM (burn for eternity) and commissioned by the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso II d'Este, for his marriage to Margherita Gonzaga in 1579. The museum holds another three pieces from this superb service, an amphora, a small plate and a goblet.
The heraldic device painted on the neck of the jug, depicts an asbestos (meaning inextinguishable in Greek) stone in flames. The motto "burn for eternity", framed in two cartouches curved between two sphinxes, symbolically exalts the flames of love that cannot be put out.
The jug, the shape of which is taken from contemporary jugs of precious metals, is richly decorated both at the top and bottom with "grotesque" style birds and fantastical creatures, while the midsection is painted with sea gods, among which, between two creatures that are half centaur half triton, is a river god holding a rudder. All these subjects are inspired by the paintings of Raphael, the engravings of whose works had made the artist popular in majolica workshops.