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“The Aldobrandini Tazza” with a figure of the Roman Emperor Otho (Marcus Silvius Otho (32-69; reigned Jan 15, 69 - Apr. 16, 69) - ROM2012_13015_5

ROM2012_13015_5

“The Aldobrandini Tazza” with a figure of the Roman Emperor Otho (Marcus Silvius Otho (32-69; reigned Jan 15, 69 - Apr. 16, 69)

Maker: Unidentified maker
Geography: Bowl and figure probably made in Rome, Italy; associated stand probably made in Spain
Date: Bowl and figure c.1560-1570; associated stand c.1530-70
Medium: Silver: raised, cast, repoussé, chased, and gilded
Dimensions:
39.8 x 38 cm
Credit Line: From the Collection of Viscount and Viscountess Lee of Fareham, given in trust by the Massey Foundation to the Royal Ontario Museum
Object number: 997.158.151
Not on view
DescriptionThis work is one of 12 similar tazzas, six of which, including the present example, bear the arms of the Aldobrandini family in whose collection they were once inventoried. Each tazza, like the present example, supports a standing figure, representing one of the 12 Caesars of the Roman Empire. In this instance it is the Emperor Otho, who reigned for about three months in the first century A.D. The history of the 12 Caesars was taken from the Roman antiquarian Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus’ The Lives of the Caesars De vita Caesarum, of about AD 121. The more immediate Renaissance sources for the depictions of the historic events found on these tazzas are thought to be derived from the works of the painter and architect Pirro Ligorio (1513-1583) or artists in his circle. It is thought by some scholars that these tazzas were originally supplied to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who subsequently gave them to a member of the Aldobrandini family. Notwithstanding this Italian patronage, their manner of workmanship suggests that they were executed by goldsmiths from the South German cities of Augsburg or possibly Nuremberg, who were working in Rome in the 1560s. The set was described by John Hayward, one of the foremost authorities on Renaissance and mannerist silver, as "the most impressive single monument of Italian and perhaps European goldsmith's work of the 16th Century." Other examples are in the Met, the Minneapolis Museum of Art, the V&A, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon and the Schroeder Collection in London. Iconographic references: The depiction of the events of the life of the Emperor Otho are taken ultimately from the Roman antiquarian Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus’ The Lives of the Caesars, or De vita Caesarum, of about AD 121, tentatively interpreted as follows: first quadrant segment can be seen to illustrate: Otho Attempts to kill Galba. The second quadrant illustrates three scenes from Otho's Offensive against Galba. The third quadrant illustrates Otho's Offensive against Vitellius. The fourth quadrant illustrates The Suicide of Otho and some of his followers. Otho (Marcus Salvius Otho, was born at Ferentium on 28 April A. D. 32; he reigned from Jan 15, A. D. 69 until his suicide at Brixellum, south of Cremona, Apr. 16 A.D. 69) He was of Etruscan ancestry and the son of a Roman knight, was emperor of Rome in A.D. 69.
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