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Plate with Hero and Leander

Unknownabout 1525

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

An unknown artist painted the center of this large display plate with a scene of the lovers Hero and Leander, who lived on opposite sides of the strait separating Asia and Europe. According to this myth, every night Leander swam to visit his beloved in her tower. When Leander was drowned in a storm, Hero threw herself into the sea in despair and also drowned. Leander is painted three times on this plate, so that his story unfolds in a continuous narrative. The tower from which Hero watches Leander's approach rises awkwardly from the sea; its lower half is visible beneath the painted water. The artist miscalculated the composition and had to paint over part of the tower in order to widen the patch of water enough to show Leander both drowned and swimming. This interesting mistake results from the artist's unwillingness to completely wash off the entire scene and start again, which would have been the only way to make imperceptible changes after having applied pigments and glaze.

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  • Title: Plate with Hero and Leander
  • Date Created: about 1525
  • Location Created: Faenza, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: h3.8 cm
  • Type: Plate
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=1169
  • Medium: Tin-glazed earthenware
  • artist: Unknown
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Hero, Leander, Oceans, Boats

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