THE COLLECTION
Wine cooler
  • Wine cooler
  • Workshop of Flaminio Fontana (active between: 1571-1591)
  • Urbino, Italy
  • Date: 1574
  • Medium: Tin-glazed earthenware, painted
  • Height: 40 cm
  • Width: 62 cm
  • Length: 71 cm
  • Inv: C107
  • Location: Smoking Room
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Description
Provenance
Marks/Inscriptions
  • Probably made for Cosimo I de’Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, this monumental wine cooler bears his device of a turtle with a mast on its back, illustrating his motto, Festina lente (Hasten slowly). The inscription on its base indicates that it was made in Flaminio Fontana’s maiolica workshop in Urbino in 1574; Cosimo died in April 1574. Wine coolers were kept on or below a buffet, filled with ice, snow or cold water, to keep wine cool during meals. The decoration of this exceptionally large cooler combines white-ground grotesques, vigorously sculpted monsters and a Roman naval battle scene derived, unusually, from a drawing. The water-based theme was appropriate to a wine cooler.