Bella donna plate with representation of Mary Magdalene
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.