Dish with two lovers, ca. 1520–50, Italian, Deruta. Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware), lustered. Overall (confirmed): 3 5/8 × 16 5/8 in. (9.2 × 42.2 cm). Purchase, 1884, 84.2.11 © 2000–2016 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The likely contexts for the display of large dishes are not easily identified. Clues might be found in a dish's subject matter, which was often either amorous—as with this embracing couple—or religious. Both subjects are essentially domestic, lending themselves to the private spaces of a wealthy home. The metallic sheen on this dish, the result of a difficult technique called lustering, would have made it all the more desirable to a Renaissance patron.