Bowl - inv. 1223

Venice, late 15th – early 16th century

blue glass  
height 55 mm, diameter 145 mm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 1223

Antique Murano Glass Room

This bowl has a simple semicircular form, slightly flared, with a circular base. The surface is painted with enamel. On the outside it is decorated with scales and white, red, green and gold dots; on the inside with the half-length figure of St. Francis of Assisi, who holds a crucifix in his left hand and a closed book in his right. Enamel decorations on coloured glass became common in the middle years of the fifteenth century. Coloured pigments were applied directly to the glass object and fixed with a second firing. Scales, and above all dots, were widely used as decoration because they called for no great technical skill and did not conceal the transparency of the glass. The subject of this bowl, sacred rather than profane, is rare and suggests it may have been a votive or liturgical object.