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Grade 4+

Maiolica, Myth, and the Minotaur

The Italian Renaissance

Zeus, Poseidon, and Daphne are just some of the Gods, Heroes, and Heroines who are illustrated on our pieces from the Italian Renaissance.  Bring your students to the Museum to learn of their fate, as well as the art of ceramic colouring during the renaissance. Learn why Maiolica pieces remain vibrant centuries after their production.

  • Links: Greek and Roman Mythology, Italian history, Visual Arts
  • Studio Project: Heroic figure or mythical beast

Students are led on a guided tour, follwed by a hands-on activity in the studio.

Students learn about Greek and Roman mytholgy from scenes painted on the vessels, complete a scavenger hunt and, view audio visual presentations. In the afternoon, students will work with professional potters in the studio for their hands-on project.


Program Details

$15*Full-Day Program
$9*Half-Day Program
$6Guided Tour
Free **Unguided Tour

Book a Visit

1. Dish with scene from the story of Icarus
Italy, Urbino and Gubbio, c. 1530
Painted by Francesco Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (c. 1500 – after 1542); lustred in the workshop of Maestro Giorgio Andreoli (c. 1465/70-c. 1553)
Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica), with metallic lustre
Inscription on reverse: fran: Avello R : pt: / Dedalo co’l figlical’ T Aeve / à nolo. / fabula y (fran: Avello R: painted this:/ The fable of Daedalus with his son in the air)
Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.362

2. Seated Drummer, Tala-Tonalá style
Mexico, Jalisco
300 B.C. - A.D. 200
Earthenware with white on red slip paint
Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.56

3. Carl Beam (Canadian, 1943-2005)
The Whale of Our Being, c.2003
Earthenware with iron oxide decoration
Museum Purchase, G03.9.1