Cipriano Piccolpasso's Art of the Potter

Cipriano Piccolpasso's Art of the Potter

Steve Wharton


Manuscript page from Piccolpasso's Three Books of the Art of the Potter (120v).

This project focused on the visuality of sixteenth-century pottery, particularly istoriato-ware, and examined evidence of the technological development and subsequent consistency through which its demand was achieved and secured. What things looked like was clearly important, and while it was the narratives depicted and the use of a culturally specific palette that were crucial to the success and status of pottery as a consumer good, it was the dissemination and the ubiquity of the relevant technology that enabled the makers of pottery to respond to the demands of society and fashion, and as soon as possible.
Central to this research was the continuation and further development of Steve Wharton's understanding of the interdisciplinarity of Piccolpasso’s engagement with his cultural environment. This work principally consolidated and resolved a number of strands of research, exploring the social, political, and aesthetic contexts within which Italian Renaissance pottery was produced and, perhaps more importantly, examined how such work was thought about at that time.


Wharton, Steve: ‘The Materials of Colour in Italian Renaissance Maiolica: The Inventory of Francesco di Luca, Orciolaio’, in Trade in Artists’ Materials: Markets and Commerce in Europe to 1700, ed by Jo Kirby, Susie Nash and Joanna Cannon, Archetype, 2010.

Wharton, Steve: ‘Ordinary Pots: The Inventory of Francesco di Luca, Orciolaio, and Cipriano Piccolpasso’s “Three Books of the Art of the Potter” ’, proceedings of the conference: Everyday Objects: Early Modern Material Culture and its Meaning, ed by Tara J. Hamling and Catherine Richardson, Ashgate, 2010.

Wharton, Steve: ‘Cipriano Piccolpasso’s Three Books of the Art of the Potter: una trattati d’amore?’ Faenza: Bollettino de Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza, nos 4-6, 2007 (pub. Sept. 2008), pp. 309-324, special edition; proceedings of the International Symposium: Xanto: Pottery-painter, Poet, Man of the Italian Renaissance, March, 2007, The Wallace Collection, London.

Wharton, Steve: ‘Le piante et i ritratti: Cipriano Piccolpasso’s Plans and Portraits of the Towns and Lands of Sixteenth-Century Umbria’; The Image of Maps: Maps of the Imagination, University of Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 12-13 May 2006.

Wharton, Steve: ‘What You See is What You Get: Colour in Italian Renaissance Maiolica’; The Material Renaissance: Cost and Consumption in Italy, 1400-1650/The Italian Forum, joint project conference, Manchester University, March 2004.