This plate tells the story of a musical contest between the god Apollo and the satyr Marsyas, drawn from Ovid's Metamorphoses. According to the ancient legend, Marsyas discovered a flute and foolishly challenged Apollo, master of the lyre, to a contest, the winner of which could inflict whatever punishment he chose on the loser. The figures on this plate are adapted from two woodcuts. On the left, Apollo stands watching a young Marsyas attempting to play his instrument upside down. The victorious Apollo, on the right, then takes a particularly cruel revenge, tying his opponent, now changed into an old and bearded man, to a tree and flaying him alive. This plate, which was part of a larger service, displays the coat of arms of the family who commissioned it in the center.


  • Title: Armorial Dish with the Flaying of Marsyas
  • Creator: Nicola di Gabrielle Sbraghe (or Sbraga), known as Nicola da Urbino
  • Date: mid-1520s
  • Location Created: Urbino, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 5.7 x 41.4 cm (2 1/4 x 16 5/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tin-glazed earthenware
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Plate
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.DE.117
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum North Pavilion, Gallery N101
  • Department: Sculpture & Decorative Arts
  • Culture: Italian
  • Classification: Decorative Arts

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