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The Culture of Emilia-Romagna

Handicrafts

 

Majolica jug, late 15th century, Faenza, International Ceramics Museum
Majolica jug with trefoil spout, end of 15th century, Faenza, International Ceramics Museum
Nothing has changed since the days of the Carraccis and the Marsilis. In Emilia-Romagna the city centres were made for craftsmen. And in today’s modern town the role played by ancient trades is far from being secondary, from potters in Faenza to coopers in Modena who make casks for balsamic vinegar. Every handcrafted object inavariably takes us back to the human dilemma; every ancient trade, which is an expression of the craftsman’s individuality and the social function of the object he produces, rekindles the fire of ancient history. Quality craftsmanship of the old school and creative new generation artisans, a blend of tradition and innovation make the arts and crafts an integral part of the region’s social fabric. And the need for specialization and experimentation have also led to the setting up of new kinds of "workshops" in the field of communications and software. This explains why the concepts of maintenance and creativity have won over the concept
Deep plate with wide rim, majolica, first half of 16th century
Majolica plate with wide rim and shallow bowl, first half of 16th century
of replacement, more typical of a mass-production consumer culture.

All the more so in Emilia-Romagna, the land of small and medium-sized firms, land of co-operation, where myriad workshops have carved out a space for themselves in an economic landscape dominated by industrial giants. It is precisely here, at the junction where culture meets commerce, that these skilled craftsmen (albeit in limited numbers) have continued to ply their trades, occupying an important position in the life of the Region and beyond.

Pottery and mosaics in the workshops of Emilia-Romagna

Fourth century majolica drinking vessels
Majolica jugs, 14th century, Faenza, International Ceramics Museum
"Grotesques" on a blue background, fruit dishes with fretwork decoration in the manner of Raphael, painted majolica, Art Nouveau tableware.
Aquatics by Giorgio Fusella based on a project by Ugo La Pietra
Aquatics by Giorgio Fusella based on a project by Ugo La Pietra
Traditional faience design. A centuries-old tradition which holds its own against mass-production rivals, proving that craft and industry make a lasting marriage. The town of Faenza, whose soil is rich in clays suitable for firing, has been a thriving centre of ceramics production since the Middle Ages. Faenza plays host to the International Ceramics Museum, one of the most important in the world, the State Institute for Ceramics, which draws young students from all
Ballerina biancanera, painted majolica
Giampaolo Bertozzi and Stefano Dal Monte Casoni, Black and white ballerina in painted majolica
over the globe, the College of Arts and Technology which trains technicians and designers to degree level and the Technological Research Institute, which is a national research centre databank for ceramic materials.

The International Competition of Contemporary Creative Design and the biennial International Exhibition of Antique Ceramics are also held in Faenza. From Faenza pottery, known all over the world, to the centre for lute-making

Renato Signorini, mosaic composition of a cartoon by Renato Birolli
Renato Signorini, mosaic composition of a cartoon by Renato Birolli
in Pieve di Cento. Then there’s decorative painting established at the end of the seventeenth century when the Bibiena family began working for the Farnese court and for churches and aristocratic residences in Piacenza. Equally well-established is the tradition of artistic wrought iron work of which evidence from the past remains in the shape of the Romanesque railings in Bobbio, the fifteenth century balcony of Bevilacqua Palace in Bologna, Malagoli´s creations in Modena and the balustrades of many eighteenth century buildings in Piacenza.

While in many workshops in Ravenna impressive mosaics are assembled piece by piece.

Renato Signorini, mosaic composition- Mosaics workshop by Renato Guttuso
Mosaic workshop in Ravenna, mosaic composition of a cartoon by Renato Guttuso
Since 1945 a group of mosaics experts have been working to rediscover the ancient techniques in order to preserve Ravenna’s Byzantine masterpieces. Ravenna also boasts a Fine Arts School, the Albe Steiner School and the Institute of Mosaics. Mention should be made of the region’s distinguished tradition of goldsmithing and, in Romagna, the textile printing workshops, the last remnants of a group which flourished in the Papal State in the eighteenth century, a case in point of an art form which survived in suburban areas while gradually disappearing in cities such as Rome due to economic and cultural factors.

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Pubblicato il 28/10/2011 — ultima modifica 21/07/2015
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