Exploring Ancient Ceramics: “Il ‘600, an Explosion of Colors” Exhibition at the Museum of the City of Acquapendente

Ceramica 4 W

Are you a history enthusiast or an art lover seeking a captivating experience? Look no further than the upcoming exhibition at the Museum of the City in Acquapendente. On Saturday, June 24, 2023, at 5:00 PM, the doors will open to unveil “Il ‘600, an Explosion of Colors,” an extraordinary showcase of 80 ancient ceramics unearthed in the underground depths of Aquesiano.

Organized by the ArcheoAcquapendente association, with the support of the Municipality and the Civic and Diocesan Museum of the City, in collaboration with the Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape for the province of Viterbo and Southern Etruria, this exhibition promises to transport visitors through time.

Step into the chronological arrangement of the exhibition and witness the evolution of ceramics. From the monochromatic and bichromatic styles of the 14th and 15th centuries, the journey leads to the 16th and 17th centuries, where a breathtaking array of colors and decorative motifs await. The earliest pieces, known as “biscuit,” are devoid of color, showcasing the natural hue of fired clay.

Giuseppe Ciacci, president of ArcheoAcquapendente, explains, “The exhibited biscuit ceramics date back to the 14th and 15th centuries and were all discovered in the underground vaults of the Sant’Agostino convent in 1995. The production technique involves two firings in a kiln at around 950 degrees Celsius. The first firing creates the aforementioned biscuit, while the second brings vibrant colors to life. The colors used in the 14th century include white, green, and brown—metallic oxides brushed onto the biscuit, which fuse and cover the objects with colored glaze during the second firing. White-tin, brown-manganese, and green-copper are the defining hues of the decorations throughout the 14th century and beyond.”

In the mid-15th century, yellow and blue pigments, derived from antimony oxide and cobalt oxide respectively, made their appearance. Blue, in particular, characterized the zaffera style and the severe style. “As we enter the Renaissance,” Ciacci continues, “the primary colors—white, brown, green, blue, and yellow—form the painter’s palette, providing inspiration for daily artistic expression. The exhibition also features white monochrome ceramics in the compendium style, black and turquoise bronzes from the mid-16th century. Towards the end of the 16th century, a vibrant explosion of colors occurs, marking the peak period of Acquapendente’s ceramic production. Local production techniques had long replaced tin glaze with a thin layer of white slip applied in the first firing, making production more affordable and competitive.”

Yellow, orange, ochre, black, brown, sky blue, turquoise, blue, and green, along with unique themes, brought success to Acquapendente’s potters until the mid-17th century. The combinations of brown, ochre, orange, and yellow became iconic, instantly recognizable as Acquapendente ceramics throughout Italy. By the late 17th century, the pictorial cycle reverted to a bichromatic scheme of white and blue, with a decline in combinations and decorations.

Alessandra Terrosi, the mayor of Acquapendente, expresses her enthusiasm, stating, “We continue to promote and celebrate the ceramic tradition of Acquapendente, which has been officially recognized with our municipality’s inclusion in the national network of the Italian Association of Ceramic Cities. I extend my gratitude to ArcheoAcquapendente, an association at the forefront of promoting the history and culture of our region. The exhibition also presents an opportunity to explore and discover the treasures preserved in the Museum of the City.”

The “Il ‘600, an Explosion of Colors” exhibition will be open to the public until December 31, 2023, at the Museum of the City. Visit on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Acquapendente’s ceramic art.

Source: museodellacitta.eu

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