Platter with Marriage of Alexander and Roxana

Bottega di Orazio Fontana


Polychrome maiolica istoriato, 19.1 x 2 cm

This small platter has been associated, although rather tenuously, with a chalice (inv. 2018) as part of a dinner service for a new mother, in reason of  technical and stylistic similarities and references to the production of the Fontana workshop around 1550.

The scene of the marriage of Alexander and Roxana, taken from Classical literature and the engravings after Raphael by the famous Master of the Die, becomes a ‘gallant’ scene in a landscape setting of rocks, a river and monumental buildings. The bedroom alcove dominates the scene: Roxana sits in the Venus Pudica pose amongst soft cushions whilst one attentive cupid tends to her hair and another, equipped with a quiver, sits beside her. Alexander, identified by the name written upon a rock. Contriving to his divine origin, he  simultaneously channels both Mars on his chariot and Hercules with the lionskin tied at the throat over his helmetThe king  holds his billowing cape in a coy gesture, at the same time he his extended arm thrusting the crown towards Roxana is imperious.