Italian ceramic art : The maiolica pavement tiles of the fifteenth century

Feb 5, 2013 by

italuanItalian ceramic art : The maiolica pavement tiles of the fifteenth century by Henry Wallis was originally published in 1902 and is a very cool book with many interesting examples of Maiolica pavement tiles in Italy in the 15th century.

A few lines from the introduction:

“Whether regarded from the historic or aesthetic point of view, these relics of the ceramic art of the XVth century, the century wherein the supreme achievement of the Italian Renaissance was concentrated, are equally instructive to the connoisseur and the student of art-history. They embody a phase of artistic invention which is absolutely unique. They likewise furnish information respecting the progress of the art of the Italian maiolicanti obtainable from no other source. For whilst the vasework of the century is conspicuously lacking in inscribed dates, on these they are sometimes present, and when this is not the case they contain internal evidence indicating their period of production often within very narrow limits.

But their documentary value is of secondary importance compared with their intrinsic artistic qualities, individually and as parts of carefully considered decorative schemes, in the latter respect being especially deserving attention. Those still remaining in the places where they were laid down are usually found in chapels, and it was preeminently in these edifices that much of the finest artistic work of the XVth century, whether in painting or sculpture, was executed. These chapels, the cynosure of many an artistic pilgrimage even at the present day, when so much of their glory has departed, stand forth not only as models of architectural style, but also as examples of perfect adaptation of decorative effect in all particulars.


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