National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Flask Medici Porcelain Factory (artist)
Italian, 1574 - 1620
Flask, c. 1575/1587, or slightly later
imitation porcelain (a version of soft-paste porcelain)
overall (height to rim): 12.7 cm (5 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.354
Not on View
From the Tour: Italian Cabinet Galleries
Object 1 of 6

In 1487, the sultan of Mamluk Egypt sent a gift to Lorenzo de’ Medici of exotic animals and “large vessels of porcelain, the like of which has never been seen.” By the mid 1500s, the Medici family’s porcelains, most from China, numbered in the hundreds. Italian potters were able to create a soft-paste imitation of porcelain, and in 1574 Francesco de’ Medici established two ceramic workshops in Florence to produce these wares. Today, some seventy examples of Medici porcelains are known, including this flask, possibly used for oil.

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