Italy is famous for its cuisine, its architecture, and its art. Ceramics are just a part of the beautiful works that come from Italy. The history of ceramics stretches back thousands of years and makes a huge impact today on this wondrous blend of earth, fire, and water. For more information visit potterypoint.com or you can look them at some of the YouTube videos they have.
The 1300s and 1400s – Beginnings of Great Italian Art
Glazed earthenware originated in the Middle East in the 9th Century, but as the Spanish started shipping their own lusterware from Valencia to Italy, the introduction of ceramics to Italy was official.
The 1300s saw the beginning of Italians using opaque, white oxide glazes made from tin on ceramic. They called this Maiolica which refers to the Spanish Island of Majorca where the lusterware came from.
What made Italy’s version of ceramics notable was that the glaze they used never faded or lost its color. Clearly the Italians had created the best ceramic products in the world. By the time the Renaissance began, Italy was the most noted at making ceramics and still makes them with high-quality today.
In the early 1400s, the Italian potters only used two colors which were made from manganese and copper to form browns and greens. Improvements were made and by the mid-1400s and kilns were capable of allowing pieces to be glazed with several different colors like orange made from iron, blue made from cobalt and yellow from antimony.
Here at rifug.org, we’re trying to share our information with the world as well but we’re just passing it along, they were creating it. As the original handmade productions continued to be made in various villages, the products were gaining even more notoriety and were able to be produced for others. The two biggest producers in the 1500s and 1500s were Deruta and Montelupo. Faenza was also a famous town that had its own style that made use of light colors on white glaze.
The production of laggioni began to grow. This was where tiles were created for floors and walls. The glazes on those tiles were covered with patterns that actually were influenced by Islam. Italian potters had a tradition of taking elements from other cultures and making them truly their own. They would use frescos and oil paintings for additional inspiration.
By the time books were available, Italian potters could even replicate images from the Bible or from classic history into their pottery. The term for this type of ceramic work is called historiated maiolica.
The 1700s to Today
Local production continued and many beautiful works ended up in churches and in homes as ceramic tiles became more popular for interior decoration. In the mid-1800s, the Italian ceramic boom villages suddenly experienced a crisis. More and more people were looking to buy cheaper ceramics or porcelain. But, by the 1900s, a demand for maintaining and drawing on tradition evolved and a museum of ceramics opened.
Today fine ceramics are available from famous craftsmen online and in village shops throughout Italy. Museo Montelupo is a must-see for those who visit Tuscany as is Le Ceramiche di Nove e Bassano in Veneto.