The giant of Italian Renaissance Painting, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, is believed to have first painted this arrangement of "grotesques" and "arabesques"—those monstrous creatures whimsically surrounded by delicate sprays and curlicues.
In this case, the "grotesque" is actually a benign deity, Raffaellesco, the protective god of sailors and merchant seamen. He blows gentle winds to keep seafarers moving forward and on-course. Raffael's home town, Urbino, was just a little over 20 miles from the seaside. Sailors (and merchant traders) would have been well-acquainted with the (fairly) nearby port of Pesaro. And the ceramics manufacturing town of Deruta, where this umbrella stand was made, although further inland, would have produced highly-decorated ceramics which would appeal to coastal Italians and would commemorate the culture of sailing and seamanship.
This Italian painted ceramic umbrella stand was made in the late Mid-Century, probably the 1970's or 1980's. But its theme and design are five centuries old. Click on one of the photos, shown above, to learn more about this handsome and useful piece.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248