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The Cleveland Museum of Art Acquires Dutch Ceramic Flower Pyramid and Van Heemskerck Drawing

The Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio announced the acquisition of six new pieces, including a Dutch tin-glazed earthenware vase produced by the Greek A Factory and a drawing by Maarten van Heemskerck.

Flower Pyramid

Blue-and-white pottery had its heyday during the reign of William III and Mary II. Mary contributed to the international spread of the fashion for Delft ceramics. She commissioned pieces from the Greek A Factory: the most prestigious of 34 workshops and potteries active in Delft at the end of the seventeenth century. Among the most complex and luxurious forms made in Delft were flower pyramids, consisting of stacked tiers with spouts in which flowers were placed.

The Cleveland Museum of Art has acquired a flower pyramid marked by Adrianus Kocx: the owner of the Greek A Factory. It was likely produced for the English market, a desirable product for English aristocrats supporting the Dutch Stadtholder, later William III of England, and his wife Mary.

Adrianus Kocx (active 1686-1701), De Grieksche A (The Greek A) Factory (active 1658-1811) Flower Pyramid, ca. 1690, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Drawing by Van Heemskerck

The museum also acquired Maarten van Heemskerck’s pen-and-ink work Jonah Cast Out of the Whale onto the Shore of Nineveh (1566). The artwork depicts the climactic episode of the biblical story of Jonah, when the prophet was swallowed by a fish and regurgitated three days later. The figures of Jonah, suspended in mid-air, and of God the Father, in the clouds above, recall types by artists such as Michelangelo, whose work Heemskerck studied in Rome.

Jonah Cast Out of the Whale onto the Shore of Nineveh is the preparatory design for one of a four-part print series on the biblical book of Jonah, all of which were engraved by Philips Galle with text added by Hadrianus Junius. The three other drawings for the series are in museum collections in Boston, Oxford and Cambridge.

Maarten van Heemskerck (1498-1574), Jonah Cast Out by the Whale onto the Shore of Nineveh, 1566, The Cleveland Museum of Art