Painted with the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, this Maiolica charger is decorated with a broad scrolling foliate border with flowers, birds and putti, centred above by a quartered coat of arms for Francesco Massucci. A popular subject of Renaissance painters, the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian shows the early Christian saint struck with arrows during the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian. The charger is probably painted by Francesco Grue, an Italian potter and painter from a family of maiolica workers in Castelli.
The probable print source for this scene is an engraving by Jan Muller (1571-1628), published by Harmen Jansz. Muller (c. 1540–1617) of about 16001 after the oil painting by Hans von Aachen (1552-1615), (National Museum, Warsaw, Poland).
According to Luciana Arbace2 these arms for Francesco Massucci were first identified by Franco Battistella in 1989. Carola Fiocco and Gabriella Gherardi recently document four Castelli pieces decorated with this coat of arms.3 This lot is now the fifth known piece bearing this coat of arms.
The decoration on the plate stylistically relates to one of the four previously documented pieces which is decorated with the subject of Scipio Ordering the Beheading of Prisoners, now in the TERCAS Collection Teramo, signed on the reverse with the initials F.G.P.4
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