We are in the Umbria region and there on the chine of the evergreen hills we descry the city of Deruta which belongs to the municipality of Perugia.
So why are we here? Besides the beauty of the landscape and the ancient churches one can find here, such as St. Francis’ church built in 1388, ceramic art and majolica are definitely worth discovering. Majolica is a term for a kind of ceramic art work. Vessels, jars and plaques with sleek painted surface or with a rich embossment made of glaze. There is also a Ceramics Museum, art gallery and a department with ancient findings hosted in the city hall.
Ceramic art began here during the early Medieval times as the ground was appropriate for its practice. There are indeed testimonials affirming that this city exported a lot of ceramic vessels to Assisi in 1358 to cover the functional and non-functional needs of the pilgrims that mobbed St. Francis’ grave. This activity evolved to art and bloomed to its fullest the 15th and 16th century, during the Renaissance. The social and historical need of each municipality for differentiation contributed to this outcome. The practice of an art and the use of particular materials, techniques and decoration helped to form the identity of a certain area.
In the 16th century the so-called Raffaellesco decoration was spread, influenced by the Raffaello Sanzio’s frescos in Vatican halls with arabesque and grotesque elements.In the first case it is a linear design based on wavy lines whereas grotesque refers to weird representations where real and unreal blend to create a mix of human and animal motifs combined with flowers and foliage.
Then but also nowadays, objects made of clay serve not only decoration needs as one might expect when we refer to objects that are almost pieces of art. A lot of them are integrated to everyday life and become functional objects such as jars, plates, cups, pots, lamps and tubs in numerous designs and colors. Besides that, clay is known for its thermal properties when it comes to cookware and porcelain refines the diffusion of light in space when used in lamp manufacturing. Who said anyway that our everyday touch with art is a luxury?