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Maiolica in the Making: The Gentili/Barnabei Archive

Maiolica in the Making: The Gentili/Barnabei Archive (Paperback)

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In the 17th and 18th centuries, potters from the Italian village of Castelli d'Abruzzo created wares that constitute a final, supremely pictorial phase of the tin-glazed earthenware art known as maiolica. Numerous pieces finely painted with narrative scenes came out of the workshops of the Grue and the Gentili, the two families of ceramists who dominated this era. In 1988 the Getty Research Institute acquired the Gentili/Barnabei archive, which comprises 276 documents primarily dating to this remarkable period in the production of maiolica. Among the written materials are various Gentili family papers -letters, property transactions, marriage contracts, prayer books, and poems - as well as records pertaining to the manufacture of ceramics, such as orders for ware, lists of ingredients, and registers of pieces made and sold. Approximately 150 engravings, drawings and pricked cartoons make up the balance of the archive. Most of these were used in some manner for the decoration of pottery, and they include four of the oldest pricked cartoons for ceramic painting known to be in existence.

In this book, Catherine Hess documents this archive and discusses known ceramics related to its cartoons and drawings. She also shows how this rare collection illuminates the early use of pricked cartoons and design sources in the maiolica workshops of Italy.

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