Faenza – the City of Ceramics

Yesterday Susan, Kath, Barney and I joined a group from Office Lab, and took a very short train and travelled for a long time through the mountains from Florence to Faenza.  It was a simple journey though:- comfortable seats , no changes and through some beautiful Italian scenery – what’s not to like?

Faenza is a place that is so well known for it’s ceramics, for more than six hundred years, that certain types of glazed ceramic  art are actually called Faenza-ware – an example of which is shown below.

The transparent engobe glaze they use makes the object impermeable and shiny – and also keeps the colour fresh – like river stones under the stream.

Faenza majolica: istoriato dish

Our stated objective was to see the Exhibition Armonie Figure tra mito e realta (Harmony, figures between myth and reality) by a relatively modern ceramicist Arturo Martini, (1889–1947) that will be in the Museo Internationale delle Ceramiche in Faenza until 30th March 2014.

Arturo Martini. Armonie, figure tra mito e realtà

Having come so far and finding it all so incredible we stayed longer – for over three hours in fact – and tried to see all the magic the museum had to offer.

This image is one of the earliest examples of Faenza-ware on display and is dated 14th Century  -the image is of  Fillide e Aristotele.

The plate below dates from the 15th Century and is so modern looking it could even have been created by Picasso!

As could this image from the 15th Century – just a delightful expression – this bull really seems to know that entering that arena isn’t such a clever idea!

In 1745 – they produced this highly practical coffee -pot

Also on display were these even less practical – modern – tea pots!

Many of the images are totally unexpected – and not “pots” at all!

In the modern section there is work by Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, Fernand Leger and indeed  Pablo Picasso himself.

Emerging after 3pm we were lucky to find a fair with a food stall still serving freshly made – and freshly stirred – polenta and delicious lasagne verde!

We even found a seat to sit and listen to the Dixieland band – played with Italian style – naturally!

band in Faenza
The trip home was a bit challenging, as the train was standing room only pretty soon after we got onto it, and we had to split up into the last three remaining seats – a tip for anyone planning to make this journey is to arrive early and if the train is already there don’t dilly-dally in the station – get on board!