Museums at Work
Museums at Work

Museums at Work

Banqueting with Gods

"Istoriato" plates from the Carpegna Collection

4 July – 25 October 2018
Room XVII, Pinacoteca

Following the careful restoration carried out at the Metals and Ceramics Laboratory of the Vatican Museums, and before their imminent display in a permanent exhibition, the valuable service of istoriato ceramic plates of the Carpegna Collection will be available to view from 4 July throughout the summer, in Room 17 of the prestigious Vatican Pinacoteca, which for more than a year now has hosted the original exhibition initiatives of the Museums at Work programme.

Curated by Guido Cornini, Banqueting with Gods. "Istoriato" plates from the Carpegna Collection is the title chosen for this “little exhibition”, the by-now consolidated and successful format by which the Pope’s Museums, viewed as a lively laboratory for study and research, seek to communicate and evaluate the various forms of knowledge conserved and the many activities carried out there daily. On display are 33 of the 34 istoriato majolica ceramics from the Vatican Museums Department of Decorative Arts, which came to their current location in 1999 from the former collections of the Apostolic Library, where they had arrived after a centuries-long troubled collection history.

This group of items of great art-historic value was produced in the sixteenth century by the skilled majolica masters of Urbino, based on drawings by painters from the Raphael School, and constitutes one of the lesser-known yet at the same time, most fascinating chapters of seventeenth-century collecting.
Four main thematic groups can be defined among the drawings and decorations that characterize this precious ceramic service: ranging from the biblical group inspired by the Old Testament and the Gospels, to the mythological group, alongside those inspired by literary subjects and those of miscellaneous allegorical origins.