The ceramics:

Ceramics in
Urbania's museums

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The museums house important collections of durantineceramics from the Middle Ages to recent times and popular use of ceramics

The Diocesan museum

Thanks to the donation of Don Corrado Leonardi the collection includes numerous examples of the durantino-urbaniese tradition from the Middle Ages to recent times. The museum is housed in the ex Episcopal Palace, a solemn building that was originally part of the Benedictine abbey of S. Cristoforo del Ponte. The ceramics section illustrates techniques and local styles from 1200 until 1900 with vases, exhibition show platters, jugs and basins, pieces destined for architectural decoration, amphorae, holy-water fonts and other pieces.

There are approximately 1000 pieces on display, from Castel delle Ripe (1200 – 1272), Castel Durante (1272 – 1636) and Urbania (1636 – 1993). In the first room, from fragments and complete pieces, the origin of the art of pottery and the typical local colours: manganese, copper flake and blue is traced. The 2nd room contains majolica from the XVI and XVII centuries with examples of pots and plates from the 16th century with perspective decoration and Bernardinian ‘trigramma’. The third room is dedicated to the 18th century, while the 4th is reserved for majolica and earthenware from the 19th century, for the most part produced by the “Fabbrica Albani”. In the last room the majolica production is from the 20th century with pieces from 1900 to 1930 by Asdrubale and Amilcare Piccini and by Ubaldo Letizia and ceramics by Federico and Isa Melis, by students of “Ceramica Piccolpasso” as well as contemporary artists.

In the Civic Museum of the Ducal Palace

Here is ceramic production dating from medieval times to the 1900s in a variety of forms (pots, bowls, “crespine” and styles from severe to compendium.
There is a rich section of graphics with drawings, prints and etchings from the XVII century by artists such as Federico Barocci, Claudio Ridolfi, Ippolito Rombaldoni and other masters active in the majolica workshops; there are the famous ‘cartoons’ useful for historical decorating from 1400 to 1700. In the archives there is also a drawing by Cipriano Piccolpasso, the great Casteldurante ‘trattatista’ of ceramics from the 1500s.

There are works by the Sardinian ceramist Federico Melis who takes credit for having relaunched ceramics in Urbania in the ‘50s and ‘60s. There are also many ceramic fragments, from a recent dig beneath the old town walls.

The museum provides research, produces publications and organises exhibitions of ceramics, availing itself of notable scholars such as the ceramologist Giancarlo Bojani, the art historian John T Spike and others.