Early Italian Ceramics - Majolica Pottery
The very early pieces of Italian ceramics date back to 9th century Mesopotamia and Baghdad, and by the 13th century majolica was imported into Italy through the Isle of Majorca which was the main port for trading vessels sailing between Italy and Spain.
The name majolica apparently originated from the Isle of Majorca and was therefore called majolica by the Italians, not minding its source or origin. And shortly after the local Italian potters learnt the way of making ceramics, they began to create their own majolica, firstly by copying the Moorish Islamic designs, then eventually producing their own mix by adding their own ingredients.
14th Century Moorish Influence on Italian Pottery
The pottery of the early Renaissance in Italy was an elaboration of the majolica ware styles made by the Moors which the northern Italians started to copy in the 14th century. It is said that this Moorish influence on Italian ceramic art led to the great development of pottery designs which eventually evolved in 16th century Italy.
15th Century Italian Porcelain Ceramics
The latter years of the 15th century saw an attempt at the production of porcelain in Venice, and by the beginning of the 16th century; the Medici family produced a mixture form that had translucent qualities, a form of porcelain also known as Medici porcelain.
The material was made into ewers, platters and dishes, with patterns fashioned after art styles of the Renaissance and the Far East.
Today, very little of the Italian ceramic art of the 15th century can be found, but the pottery art of this period was what served as an inspiration for later ceramic makers in France, for their production of soft paste porcelain.
16th Century Themes & Forms of Ceramic Art in Italy
The great development in ceramics designs occurred in the early part of this century. Italian pottery works at the period were designed elaborately with beautiful hand painted finishes using bold strong colour patterns of festoons, foliage, scrolls, arabesques, dolphins, masks, cherubs, scriptural themes, scenes depicting historical subjects of the Roman Empire, and mythological themes.
The ceramic art forms included pitchers, urns, elaborate food platters, apothecary jars and pots of all shapes and sizes, vases and other typical household objects. Colours that was used on the majority of the majolica wares was black, orange shades, light blue, mulberry, and green.
18th Century Italian Potters
The influence of French and German styles of pottery became evident in 18th century Italy. Pottery works were founded in Venice as early as 1719, followed by Florence in 1735, Doccia in 1737, in two other locations in 1743 and 1771, Capo di Monte and Portico respectively, and finally in Naples in 1773.
Ancient Handmade Ceramics, a Collectors Item
Today, Italian ceramic art remains one of the most treasured collections of ancient pottery all over the art collectors world.
These ancient art pieces are loved for their colourful designs and imaginative shapes and are no less admiring of the painstaking skill and attention to detail required in the production of such fine Italian ceramic ware.
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