Thursday, September 5, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Meissen Commedia dell’Arte Figure, c. 1740

Enamel and Hard-paste Porcelain Figure
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here, we see a hard-paste porcelain figure of Harlequin propped against a tree stump, looking both mischievous and wicked as he pulls the tail of a complaining pug dog as if cranking the handle of a hurdy-gurdy. The figure is painted in enamel and gilded.

This beautiful weirdness is the work of modeler Johann Joachim Kändler for the Meissen Porcelain Factory. In the 1740s. Kaendler, created a whole array of porcelain figures. The most popular of his designs were those which depicted characters from the Italian Opera and Commedia. These were especially popular in England where Commedia’s Pulcinella had given birth to Mr. Punch in the Seventeenth Century.

The figure with others from the group.

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