5 October 2006 -
7 January 2007

At Home in Renaissance Italy

Exhibition Highlights

The Medici-Tornabuoni Birth Tray

Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, called Lo Scheggia
1449, Florence
Wood with gold, silver and tempera paint

Painted wooden bowls and trays were probably used to carry food and presents to a new mother. After childbirth they could be displayed in the house and passed on through successive generations.

Piero de' Medici presented this birth tray to his wife Lucrezia Tornabuoni at Lorenzo's birth on New Year's Day in 1449. Lorenzo (the Magnificent) was Piero's first son and his arrival must have been lavishly celebrated. The tray is larger than most and its decoration is inspired by Petrarch and Boccaccio’s writings. When Lorenzo died in 1492, it was listed hanging in his camera.

'The Triumph of Fame' is depicted on the front and the device of Piero de’ Medici with the Medici and Tornabuoni coats of arms are on the back. It is inscribed on the back in Latin, 'Forever'.

Purchase in memory of Sir John Pope-Hennessy: Rogers Fund, The Annenberg Foundation, Drue Heinz Foundation, Annette de la Renta, Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson, and The Vincent Astor Foundation Gifts, Wrightsman and Gwynne Andrews Funds, special funds, and Gift of the children of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Logan, and other gifts and bequests, by exchange, 1995 (1995.7)

The Medici-Tornabuoni Birth Tray Enlarge

Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Click on the images above for more information and an enlargement.