This object when filled with snow was intended to keep drinks cool during banquets. Ceres and Bacchus are painted on the surface of the majolica; they seem to promise lavish offerings and a fruitful harvest. Notably, the contents of the bottles have miraculously survived intact to this day and are assumed to be wine.
The upper section of the rectangular box has six circular holes made to hold six bottles. The handle lies lengthwise along the centre. It is decorated in cobalt blue in the ”baroque istorie” style. Ceres and Bacchus are depicted on the front while festive putti offer them bunches of grapes. On the shorter sides there are paintings of putti and farmhouses. The bottles have a flat base, circular body and long neck widening slightly at the mouth. Single and paired putti hovering in flight holding clusters of grapes are painted on the surface. This bottle carrier is distinguished both for being intact and for the quality of its decoration which was probably taken from cartoons by Bartolomeo Guidobono, as can be seen by the vigorous cut of Ceres’ mantle and the dynamic and confident placement of the figures.
Exhibitions: ”Mostra dell’Antica maiolica Ligure dal secolo XIV al secolo XVIII” Genoa, Palazzo Reale, April – June 1939
These ceramics are shown in room 2.
Size: box h. 13.5 cm, w. 18.5; each bottle h. 18 cm
Provenance: Luigi Bixio collection, Genoa
On loan from the A. De Mari” Foundation
Bibliography: O. Grosso, G. Morazzoni (edited by), ”Mostra dell’Antica maiolica Ligure dal secolo XIV al secolo XVIII”, exhibition catalogue, 1939, plate LIV; G. Morazzoni, ”La maiolica antica ligure”, Milan 1951, plate 50.