About this artwork
Made during the first years of the royal porcelain factory in Capodimonte, this rare set is one of the great masterpieces of European porcelain. With its malleability and whiteness, porcelain was especially suited to the Rococo emphasis on asymmetry, natural motifs, and a palette that was lucid and light. These soft-paste porcelain surfaces, probably designed by Capodimonte’s master modeler, Giuseppe Gricci, conjure up the textures and luminescence of sea-washed shells and natural mother-of-pearl. The allusion to the marine world—so appropriate to these water-bearing vessels—is furthered by the use of shell-like forms for both the shape and decoration of the ewer and basin. The surfaces of the vessels are also encrusted with marine elements, and a trompe l’oeil coral branch cleverly serves as the ewer’s handle. Swirling lines and irregular surfaces contribute to the ewer’s sense of lightness and complete the allusion to the sea.
- Real Fabbrica della porcellana di Capodimonte
- Soft-paste porcelain, polychrome enamels and gilding
- 16.5 × 38.7 × 34.3 cm (6 1/2 × 15 1/4 × 13 1/2 in.)
- Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Norman Chatain in memory of Professor Alfred Chatain