IPERION CHIntegrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage
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Date(s) - 29/10/2018 - 30/10/2018
All Day

LNEC Congress center


The presence of clay objects is one of the foremost symbols of the onset of technology associated to art. Initially decorated with incised, molded or modeled elements, with different colours of clay and pigments, the objects became increasingly sophisticated. The introduction of a glaze amplified the options for more refined decorative solutions, including in architectural integration. But it was with the spread of the majolica (or faïence) technique, low fired tin-glazed earthenware originally developed in Eastern Islamic countries, that Europe developed its most iconic ceramic productions.

In the 15th century potters perfected the production of this specific kind of glazed ceramics and from the kilns of Italy it disseminated to the Low Countries, France, Spain and Portugal in waves of influence that would determine the European ceramic profile. If porcelain is what defines the oriental productions and characterizes the sophistication of the Chinese and Japanese societies, majolica represents the more down-to-earth approach to life that characterizes the aesthetical advancement of European societies.

The majolica technique allowed for each European country to express their sensitivity, creating from common daily life objects to beautiful and unique works of art. The increasing changes in European lifestyle, the contact with other civilizations, discovering new life forms, foods and artistic expressions, together with technological novelties and increasing combinations of materials, would mark the next centuries and create distinctive artistic languages characterizing the productions of each country.

Constructions became covered with majolica items: tiles, medallions, sculptures and other elements. Majolica artifacts were used to decorate, participate in religious practices, hygienize rooms or contain medicines, produce, hold and conserve edibles…

Notwithstanding the increasing role of porcelain as it too started being produced in Europe, majolica never lost its prime place as the more genuine expression of European creativity. Its appeal remains and can be seen appreciated from the Dutch delftware to the walls tiled with Portuguese azulejos and from the sophisticated and colorful Italian maiolica plates to the dense decorations of Spanish objects, the eye-catching French productions or the sinuous British Liberty pieces, to name only a few. The presence and forms of majolica production are as diverse as the European geography and diversity is one of the characteristic strengths of this continent.

GlazeArt2018 will dwell on scientific research on tin-glazed ceramics and is a networking activity of H2020 Project IPERION CH and an outcome of the Portuguese-funded FCT-AzuRe Project.


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