Floor tile with portrait, Italy

Floor tile with portrait, Italy

Floor tile with portrait
Italy, probably Pesaro
About 1480
Tin-glazed earthenware, with decoration painted into the glaze
Museum no. 12-1890

The Spanish introduced tin-glazed floor tiles to Italy in the 1440s. Italian potters were soon producing their own, outstripping their Spanish models in the refinement of their designs. Such Italian wares were known as maiolica.

This tile is from a pavement in the convent of San Paolo in Parma. The floor includes portraits of smart young men and women and emblems of courtly love.