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Capodimonte figurine of a Jewish gentleman

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.123

Porcelain figurine of a young, Jewish man, manufactured by the Royal Factory of Capodimonte in Naples, Italy, likely during the late 18th or early 19th century. The figurine’s pose and dress bear a resemblance to depictions of the commedia dell'arte character, Pantalone. Commedia dell’arte is a theatrical form that emerged in northern Italy in the 15th century. The actors wore masks on stage as a homage to ancient Roman comedies. Pantalone’s mask usually had a large, hooked nose; a stereotypically Jewish feature. The figurine further embellishes the stereotype by featuring Pantalone with red hair and wearing a kippah, a traditional Jewish cap. Pantalone was usually a greedy old merchant, who would often romantically pursue, and be rejected by younger women. Commedia dell’arte was popular throughout Europe, and figurines of the characters were popular molds for porcelain makers. The Royal Factory of Capodimonte began manufacturing porcelain during the mid-18th century. However, Capodimonte now refers to porcelain designs that have emotive, Italian styling typical of those earlier pieces. In 1743, Charles of Bourbon, King of Naples and Sicily, commissioned the construction of a porcelain factory in the Royal Wood of Capodimonte. In 1759, when Charles ascended to the Spanish throne, he brought the molds, models, and artists with him to Spain and demolished the factory in Italy. Afterwards, Charles’ son, Ferdinand, inherited his father’s title in Italy, as well as his interest in porcelain. He began construction of a new facility in 1771, and production continued throughout the tumultuous Napoleonic Wars. During the first decades of the 1800s, Ginori Porcelain Manufactory purchased the Royal Capodimonte factory molds and equipment, and began manufacturing Capodimonte styled porcelain. This figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

manufacture:  1771-approximately 1817
manufacture: Royal Factory of Capodimonte; Naples (Italy)
Decorative Arts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2022-04-11 09:11:52
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