French, Avon or Fontainebleau
Gondola cup with Venus as Summer and Adonis as Autumn
Early 17th century
Length: 20 cm. (8 in.), Height: 6 cm. (2 ½ in.)
FURTHER INFORMATION: Anne de Montmorency and Catherine de' Medici were important collectors of ceramics by the great French renaissance ceramicist Bernard Palissy. Catherine commissioned from him an entire room of clay creatures as a grotto for her Tuileries palace. The popularity of Palissy's work inspired a whole school of similar work. The Gondola cup, a contemporary term for this ceramic type of a couple in a bath, became popular at court. Clearly not a vessel but rather a non-functional decorative work that has become amusing and erotic and was to be admired by its owner in the intimacy of their study.