The Cleveland Museum of Art is proud to have on display the most complete, surviving example of a Gothic table fountain. This particular piece of medieval automation is dateable to between 1320 to 1340. It was likely made in Paris, France and almost certainly created for a person of very high status, perhaps even a member of the royal court.
Such fountains existed in the 14th and 15th centuries in substantial numbers. They assumed various forms but were always made from precious metals and sometimes embellished with colorful enamels or semi-precious stones. Table fountains were probably returned to the goldsmith s shop for conversion into vessels or coinage once they ceased to function or the fashion had passed accounting for the scarcity of surviving examples today.
This exhibition will for the first time present this unique and special object as the focus of a single study. The table fountain will be placed at the center of a group of objects including luxury silver hand washing vessels, illuminated manuscripts and a painting. Each item will inform some aspect of the fountain s history, functionality, and presumed use.
The exhibition will include important loans from international lenders and is co curated by Stephen N Fliegel curator of Medieval art and Elina Gertsman professor of art history at Case Western Reserve University.
This exhibition will close on February 26, 2017.