Orazio Fontana

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Rinfrescatoi basin, 1565-1571

Orazio Fontana (1510–1571), was an Italian potter and maiolica painter, who introduced istoriato maiolica in Urbino.[1]


He was born in Castel Durante as the son of Guido Durantino, who was also known as Guido Fontana.[1] Along with his father and his brothers Camillo and Nicola,[1] he ran a workshop for several decades.[2] He finally moved with his family to Urbino from the 1530s onwards,[2] where he set up his own workshop in grotesques in 1565.[3][2] Supported by Duke Guidobaldo II of Urbino,[4] Orazio introduced istoriato maiolica in the area, hence contributing to the development of new center of maiolica production and innovation.[1] Later on he concentrated on luxury wares of the Spezieria (Medical Dispensary attached to the Palace at Urbino)[4] with surprisingly sculptural, sometimes even fantastic shapes, leaving the plainer, and probably more profitable, white and common wares to his father.[1] Together with his workshop he realized great commissions, including table service for Anne de Montmorency.[2] He died in Urbino in 1571.[3]

The rinfrescatoi basin in the District Museum in Tarnów created between 1565-1571, is one of the best examples of Orazio's workshop artistry combining grotesque sculpture, original form with colourful painted decoration.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Orazio Fontana". www.getty.ed. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d June Osborne (2003). The Story of a Renaissance City. Frances Lincoln Ltd. p. 144. ISBN 07-11220-86-7.
  3. ^ a b Orazio Fontana in the RKD
  4. ^ a b Joseph Marryat (1857). A History of Pottery and Porcelain: Mediæval and Modern. J. Murray. p. 53.