Renaissance was not just an age of genius painters and sculptors working for the very rich, but a period when art – via designer tableware – found its way into relatively modest houses as well.
Today, souvenir shops in Italy are stacked floor to ceiling with clay pots and plates painted in two or three “typical” designs that anyone who has spent a week there becomes allergic to. I suspect the painting is done by machines, or rather printed to look painted.
Here’s a typical representative:
Renaissance designs were much more varied.
This 15th century dog is graphically a thing of the 20th century.
And the blue wild boar is simply irresistible:
IKEA and modern printing technologies have almost exterminated handiwork individuality: even if there’s some hand-painted tableware in the house, it’s not used, but stored. This is sad, for a plate with an individually perfect or flawed drawing can liven up even a most boring dinner. Just imagine a set of plates with the dogs, with which having a tiny individual difference. They could even be given names.
PS The jug and plate come from a museum in Prato, a place few tourists have ever been to, even though it is just 30 km from Florence and Tuscany’s second largest city.
To sample stuff in this blog, click on About at the top: there’s a collection of links to some of my best or typical posts. There’s an Art & Fun shelf if you feel like in need of a laugh.
I still enjoy the Italian pottery. They do the painting by hand in Tunisia. Their pottery is equally lovely.
For me, the problem with Islamic design is that it is purely and perfectly geometric, like a kaleidoscope picture (and I never liked kaleidoscopes because they lack chaos). It is no doubt highly decorative, but it doesn’t stir up my imagination. Again, it is a purely individual perception.
It isn’t all geometric. I have pictures of flowers (roses to be exact) on their ceramics that are quite lovely.
First of all I have to say, captivating title. It was what made me click your link to begin with. Wanted to find out if the dog was real or not, haha. Nicely written. I really liked this post and the thought of naming the dog on the plate. With four boys, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what they would name theirs.
Thank you! Having named their dogs, they’d be fighting over to get “their” plate, and then there would be much reshuffling of plates before a dinner begins ))
A place where you can still live with hand made things – including bathroom tiles, is Fez in Morocco. Also not the most popular destination for tourists, but astonishing. They still practice their traditional crafts and everything is affordable and in use.
I’ve seen pictures from Marocco… Nice.. Alas, I don’t want to go there for ideology reasons ))