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Italian, Drug jar (albarello) with representation of St. Anthony the Hermit, ca.1550, Bequest of Susan Martin Allien

On View

Italian

gallery location RA507.European3

Drug jar (albarello) with representation of St. Anthony the Hermit

Unknown artist, Italian
Drug jar (albarello) with representation of St. Anthony the Hermit, ca.1550
Lead-glazed earthenware
24.1 x 13 cm (9 1/2 x 5 1/8 inches)
Bequest of Susan Martin Allien 35.713

Cylindrical apothecary jars (albarelli) were used to store drugs or herbs, and were designed so that their rims could be covered with parchment or leather and banded with cord to keep their contents dry. This jar depicts Saint Anthony the Hermit holding a flame that represents ergotism, also known as “Saint Anthony’s Fire,” a skin disease caused by contaminated grain. The painful ailment was treated by a community of monks whose church held relics of Saint Anthony.


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