CORTE DEI GONZAGA
Corte dei Gonzaga is the fascinating name of Irma Guidorossi’s ceramic studio in Mantova.
Irma is a talented artist who has taken upon herself the noble task of breathing new life in the art of sgraffito ceramics.
The decoration of the pottery is “scratched” on the first layer of glaze (engobe) before the first firing. Then the pieces are painted in the same colors that were used in the Renaissance, when this particular pottery brought a bright and cheerful touch into every house of the region.
Irma’s pottery preserves untouched the character of the original Renaissance pottery, which she patiently researched both in the forms and the designs. Her childbirth sets in particular are most rare collectors’ pieces and luxurious gifts.
Irma Guidorossi is one of those artists who combine manual talents and technical skills with a solid cultural background. She knows absolutely everything about the history and the making of the sgraffito ceramics and she is equally meticulous when it comes to their production.
She works alone and starts absolutely from scratch: she mixes the clay with the water, throws her forms and lets them dry, she scratches and decorates them. No one is allowed to help, let alone to replace her in one of the production steps.
Is this the secret behind the vital beauty of her pieces? We believe so.
The pottery she makes was very popular in the region of Mantua during the Renaissance. Local craftsmen used the sgraffito technique to make simple, functional objects at first, such as bowls, plates, pitcher.
Then, as it often happens, they did better and better and were able to add refinement and sophistication both to their shapes and to their designs.
As with many traditional Italian pottery styles, the sgraffito ceramics were no longer in fashion after the 16th century and this technique was not used for many centuries.
Today, thanks to Irma’s effort and talent, we can enjoy the pleasure of this pottery with its own unique character and authentic feel.