During our Furniture & Decorative Art auction on November 29th, Tajan offered for sale an astonishing majolica tondino dated 1525 from the workshop of Maestro Giorgio Andreoli.

After a dazzling bidding battle, this magnificent piece unearthed by Ariane Blanche, our correspondent in Nantes, achieved a total of €262,400 (originally estimated at €10,000-20,000)!

A 16th century, dated 1525, maiolica, tondino, Gubbio, workshop of Maestro Giorgio Andreoli and on the reverse side a Rothschild inventory mark, 147.R D. 21,5 CM • 8,5 in.


Description of the artwork:

The tied putto representing Cupid is a classic image of Love in the Renaissance, his blindfolded eyes indicating that the lovers do not know where they are going, that they have no judgement and are not driven by any discernment but by passion alone.

This representation is similar to another Gubbio cup. Preserved in the British Museum and also dated 1525, John Mallet, former curator of ceramics at the Victoria and Albert Museum, attributes its authorship to the painter Francesco Xanto Avelli.


Who was Francesco Xanto Avelli?

Until recently, little was known about the life of Xanto Avelli. Known as a pottery painter, poet, involved in politics and closely linked to Francesco Maria I della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, Xanto was a true Renaissance man. Unusually for a potter, he studied classics, often choosing themes from mythology, ancient history and current events as subjects for his painting. He counts among the greatest istoriato painters on majolica.

Xanto’s full name often includes the words “da Rovigo”, indicating that he was a native of that town, but we know that he worked mainly in and around Urbino. He was one of the first majolica painters to sign and date his works, which shows his desire to be recognised as an artist and not as a craftsman.


Majolica is one of the few forms of Renaissance art in which the colour has survived as it was when it left the workshop, without any alteration.

“Majoliques italiennes de la Renaissance. Collection Paul Gillet”, Fondation Bemberg, 2015. Exhibition catalogue, 25 June - 27 September 2015. © Fondation Bemberg / the authors




Elsa KOZLOWSKI / Auctioneer

+ 33 1 53 30 30 39

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Chloé KARMI / Specialist

+ 33 1 53 30 30 16

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