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Bella donna plate with representation of Mary Magdalene

Unknown artist, Italian, Italy; Gubbio
Bella donna plate with representation of Mary Magdalene, 1500-1550
Tin-glazed earthenware
Diameter: 23.2 cm (9 1/8 inches)
Gift of Robert Lehman 57.302

  • This small bella donna (beautiful woman) plate is distinguished by blue, yellow, and ruby luster glazes. Its broad rim is decorated with molded gadroons, radiating pinwheel-fashion, and separated by floral and foliate forms. The central figure’s long hair, ointment jar, and halo identify her as Saint Mary Magdalene, a symbol of the virtue of humility. As was common during the Renaissance, she is depicted with blond hair, an indication of contemporary fashion and beauty.

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