The exhibit features Richard Ginori’s limited edition reissues of pieces from the 18th century, starting with the original work from 1732. For Home is the only retailer in North America to receive the exhibition and the items, which are only being made to order in a limited quantity, are for sale to those interested in the grand urns.
Interested? Read on for the specific details of each piece.
CELLINI VASE AND TRAY
The Cellini vase takes its name from its close stylistic similarity to the goldsmith work of Florentine sculptor Benvenuto Cellini. Although there is little precise evidence about Cellini’s goldsmith work, he wrote a treatise on the goldsmith’s art in which he describes some moulds that relate to the Cellini vase and that match two pieces now in the Silver Museum in Palazzo Pitti in Florence: a Ewer and tray in gilded silver, made by Paul Huebner and Master BK between 1580 and 1590. It is clear that there was already a genuine fashion for these ewers by the middle of the 16th century, which were inspired by common objects that Cellini himself refers to in 1524: “[…] the Bishop of Salamanca told me to make a large ewer for water, called an ‘acquereccia’ (large jug), as an ornament to stand on sideboards.” So it appears that the artist was used to making this type of container at his workshop. Moreover, some of these ewers appear in the frescoes by Giulio Romano for the Sala di Psiche in the Palazzo del Te in Mantua, which can be dated to between 1527 and 1530, offering further evidence of the fashion for them at the time. Our Cellini vase consisting of a jug and tray, may therefore be considered a ewer and is described as such in the list of the Manufactory’s products presented at the Paris Exhibition in 1878 and at the London Exhibition in 1888, while at the Paris Exhibition in 1868 it is indicated as a “Cellinistyle vase”.
The relief decorations show similarities with the mannerist style and with the figures on the salt cellar made by Cellini, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. This reinforces the hypothesis that our version derives from a model by Cellini, in which the figures of Virtue and a depiction of the Arts can be seen in the decorative composition.
The Mercurio Statue, entirely handmade in bisque porcelain and reproduced by the Manufacture’s artistic casting experts in a modest version with the variation of goatskin around the deity’s waist, the messenger of the gods is represented with wings on his feet. Richard Ginori introduces a revisit to a Mercurio designed by the Florentine sculptor Francesco Fanelli, together with Pallade. Both models are listed in the 18th-century inventories of the Ginori Manufacture, confirming their entry with the acquisition of shapes and models completed by its founder, the Marquis Carlo Ginori. Fanelli’s training at the Giambologna workshop is clearly revealed in this small statue, which recalls the statue designed by his teacher, both in the smaller version and the monumental statue created in 1580 for the fountain at the Medici villa in Rome and currently kept at the National Museum of Bargello, together with other similar bronze statues.
Today, Mercurio is presented for the first time by Richard Ginori at the Salone del Mobile in celebration of the exhibition ‘The Manufacture of Beauty. The Ginori Manufacture and its people of statues’. This account of the extraordinary and magnificent 18th-century works by Marquis Ginori will be inaugurated in May at the National Museum of Bargello in Florence.
In 1811, Leopoldo Carlo Ginori Lisci bought a plaster cast of the Medici vase, perhaps the very one that is now in the Richard Ginori Museum at the Doccia Manufactory, so it seems probable that the introduction of this item to the Manufactory dates back to this period. The small versions of the crater vase, inspired by the ancient marble vase that was a much admired item in the Medici collections from the end of the 16th century, found plenty of scope for development in the Ginori Manufactory from the early decades of the 19th century. The shape of the vase offers the perfect surface for experimenting with various bas-reliefs, with themes ranging from works by sculptors active in the period from the 16th to the 18th centuries, to paintings, such as the views of the Villa and of the Doccia Manufactory that appeared on a model exhibited for the first time at the Universal Exhibition in London in 1851. This Medici vase derives from a model developed during the second half of the 19th century: one side of the vase body is decorated with a revised version of the Levare del Sole taken from one of the six bronze bas-reliefs by Giovanni Casini, depicting le Ore del Giorno e della Notte.
It is not known when these models, and perhaps the related moulds too, came to the Doccia Manufactory, but it seems likely that they were purchased by Marquis Carlo Ginori in around 1740, because some of the porcelain vases made under his management partially reproduce some of these reliefs. The Medici vase depicts the scene of the Levare del Sole, with the addition of a winged Genius torch-bearer; but in addition to offering a more chaste version of the scene, there are also alterations to the head and the position of the right arm of the Apollo figure compared to the Casini relief. These alterations can be ascribed to the need for greater projection of the relief. The documents available do not allow the vase to be dated with any certainty, but “Medici vases with Figure Decorations” are mentioned in the lists of porcelains sent to the Universal Exhibition in London in 1862.