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Tureen for "Risotto alla Pescatore"

2001 Ubaldo Vitali Born: Rome, Italy 1944 sterling silver and sodalite 6 1/2 x 21 1/4 x 13 in. (16.5 x 54.0 x 33 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the James Renwick Alliance © 2001, Ubaldo Vitali 2011.22A-C Renwick Gallery
2nd Floor, Room 207

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Ubaldo Vitali's skill is most evident in his original designs. Tureen was crafted specifically to serve risotto alla pescatore, which inspired the shape of the vessel and its decoration. The body resembles a fisherman’s boat, while the tureen's lid and the handles on its tray resemble ocean waves. The sea forms, including starfish, shells, and octopi, are cast from life in the traditional eighteenth century manner, and then molded to fit the body of the tureen. The handles are trimmed with sodalite in further reference to the sea.

The design of this tureen is more baroque than Vitali's typically modernist works. At a time when silversmithing is declining globally and labor is increasingly specialized, this work offers masterful examples of the core techniques of raising, chasing, and casting. It illustrates the scope of Vitali's achievement in silver, both by bridging the Old World with the New, and by serving as an encyclopedia to his craft.

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decorative arts

Crafts - Metal

metal - silver