White Italian Majolica – Faenza and Rome

Until August 22, 2010
Faenza – Italy

Sept. 16 – Nov. 28
Rome – Italy

The exhibition celebrates “the whites”, Italian ceramics - Plate with Tedoforo, Ceramics Museum of San Nicola Basilica in Tolentino - Photo credits: www.micfaenza.orga specific style of pottery that arose in Faenza in the 1540s.

Their innovative shapes, designs and glazes determined their immediate success; within a few years from their appearance on the market, they were already so popular that many potters started to make them, both in Italy and in other European countries.

Known as the “pottery from Faenza”  or faentini, the whites became so famous that French people shortened their name to “faience”, that is now the French name for Majolica or Pottery.

Their glaze was pure white, thick and it perfectly covered the biscuit. After the firing they were shiny and sparkling, thus conveying a strong hygiene and clean message to the Customer. And we all know that at the time hygiene was a luxurious benefit!

The key element of their design was not the color (of course) but the shape, which was either very dynamic and opulent or had relief patterns. Glass and metal objects often inspired the potters, who used plaster mold to make similar shapes.

The use of colored glazes was usually limited. Some yellow, blue and ochre were sometimes used to paint simple, stylized subject.
Indeed the production of the whites is historically set in the “compendiario” time, when the triumphant glory of the Renaissance gave way to a more sober artistic trend.

The exhibition displays 130 pieces. It starts with an overview of the “compendiario” time which is very useful to understand the historical background of the production of the whites. Then the production of many Italian regions is displayed, starting from Emilia Romagna (Faenza), where the whites arose, then Trentino, Lombardia, Veneto, Liguria, Marche, Toscana, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, Puglia, Campania, Calabria, Molise, Basilicata, Sicilia and Sardegna.

The key source for the exhibition is the Matricardi Collection from Ascoli Piceno.

Faenza – until August 22, 2010
Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche
Viale Baccarini 19  48018 Faenza (Ra)
Phone: 0039 0546 697311

Roma – Sept. 16 – Nov. 28, 2010
Musei Capitolini
Phone: 0039 060608