Gusseiserne Ofenplatte

Stove plate

dated 1519
Meister G.F.(?), Alsace
Cast iron
height 81 cm, width 91.5 cm
Inv. 1965.34.

2374px x 4505px
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Usually richly decorated, cast iron plates were a necessary part of the iron stoves that before 1500 were in widespread use in town halls, monasteries, guildhalls, and later in the houses of the upper middle classes, and that continued to be produced until the Baroque period. A center nearby Basle was Kandern in the Black Forest, where an iron foundry is documented from 1512. The plates were often decorated with reliefs showing coats of arms, single figures or sequences of scenes. While saints predominated before the Reformation, during the Renaissance motifs from ancient history, literature and mythology became very popular. Phyllis riding on Aristotle is one of a series of moralising stories that originated in the late Middle Ages, then found their way into literature and later into visual art. The moral of the tale was that even Aristotle, the greatest sage of antiquity, was conquered by female wiles. This plate is dated 1519 and is attributed to the Alsatian Master G.F.. The motto, probably only added when the plate was painted in the C18, announces: "Wie wohl er doch / kein Pferde was / Fin Wyb im denocht ybersass" (though he never was a steed, yet a woman on him rode). The Augustinermuseum in Freiburg owns an almost identical plate.

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