With the gods at the table
This beautiful bronze plaque certainly looks sixteenth century. However, that cannot be true because the people sitting around this table all smoke a long pipe. What is the case? It is based on a bronze plaque by Guglielmo della Porta who created various mythological representations around 1555 in a pure Renaissance style. Our artist based his scene on such a relief, on the understanding that he changed the subject and turned a banquet into a smoking gathering. He laid a bundle of fire on the centre of the table and provided all people with a straight stemmed tobacco pipe. What he meant by this ode to the smoking habit is unfortunately unclear. Certain is that it is a very early portrayal of a smoking company, possibly even before 1620 and that is what makes this plaque so special. The fact that it concerns reproductive art does of course diminish the artistic level of this so-called work of art, but the early date makes this plaque a great asset for a pipe museum. Mind you, it is the oldest image of a smoke company.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 19.916Permalink