Marvels of Maiolica: Italian Renaissance Ceramics from the Corcoran Gallery of Art Collection

By Johnson, Mark M. | Arts & Activities, February 2005 | Go to article overview

Marvels of Maiolica: Italian Renaissance Ceramics from the Corcoran Gallery of Art Collection


Johnson, Mark M., Arts & Activities


LEARNING from EXHIBITIONS

Maiolica, a high-quality, beautifully decorated tin-glazed earthenware, evolved during the Renaissance to achieve a value well beyond its natural material worth. Maiolica is one key to understanding life in Renaissance Italy--a rich, complex, sophisticated and cultural period filled with a wide range of functional and exquisite objects that served and enhanced the lives of its citizens.

The term "Maiolica" or "Majolica" is a medieval Italian derivation of the name of the island of Majorca which was the source of many imports, including ceramics, to Italy. In the Renaissance, the Italians used the term maiolica to describe Hispano-Moresque lusterwares. Over time, the name was more generally applied to include a variety of tin-glazed earthenware forms and styles.

Most commonly associated with the Italian Renaissance, the history of maiolica actually dates back to Islamic prototypes created as early as the 9th century. By the 11th century the technique and style of this lusterware had become more widespread and, by the 13th century, large quantities of this pottery were being imported to Italy from Moorish Spain. In the 15th century, Italy's own maiolica production grew to eventually dominate the pottery of Europe and set a trend that continued for centuries, even up to the present day.

The technique of making majolica begins with firing a piece of earthenware. Next, the surface of the object is painted with a tin enamel that dries to form a white opaque, porous surface. A design or image is then painted on in colors. A transparent glaze is applied overall and, finally, the piece is fired again.

The rise of Majolica pottery in the Italian Renaissance signaled a change in the perception and purpose of ceramic wares. Ceramics went from being primarily austere and utilitarian to gaining the status of an art form. Maiolica actually can be considered a branch of Renaissance painting as well as an important chapter in ceramic history. Well crafted and elegantly decorated, these ceramics flourished throughout Italy and were highly prized by collectors.

Through the Renaissance, collectors displayed maiolica proudly and prominently in their homes and businesses. Citizens from all levels of society gave majolica as gifts; notaries referred to it in documents; and merchants carried wares from local workshops as well as from neighboring regions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Marvels of Maiolica: Italian Renaissance Ceramics from the Corcoran Gallery of Art Collection
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.