The oldest written documents place Deruta’s ceramics back in 1282. In this age production from Deruta was basically objects of common use, such as cups, pitchers and bowls decorated with geometrical motives, flowers and sacred symbologies.
In the second half of XV and first years of XVI centuries Umbria was the center of a very important painting school where master like Il Perugino, Il Pinturicchio and Luca Signorelli operated. From these painters the ceramists in Deruta took their iconographic inspiration and pictorial taste. During The Renaissance there where in Deruta more than 50 furnaces and same of the artists are know for their signatures: Nicola Francioli as “Co”, Giacomo Mancini “El Frate” and Francesco Urbini.
The production of “coppe amatorie”, “piatti da pompa”, vases, “albarelli” and pharmacy jar is the most important in majolica from Deruta. The majolics produced during The Renaissance became very famous all over the word for the use of metallic “lustro”, with golden and reddish reflections. The first lustrated work attributed to Deruta is a relief plaque, dated to 1501 and preserved at Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The seventeenth-century production is characterized by everyday objects, with decoration of fantastic creatures called “grottesche” or “raffaellesche”.
Testimony of this period are the ex-voto plaques dedicated to Madonna dei Bagni, a church near Deruta.
After these years, we have to wait until after Unity of Italy for a renovated interest about Majolica by artists like Francesco Briganti, Amgelo Micheletti and Alpinolo Magnini.
In the second half of ‘900 ceramics from Deruta have an incredibile development with many artisanal shops.
Regional Museum of Ceramics in Deruta
The entire history of Deruta ceramics is well described by more than 6000 pieces showed in the Regional Museum of Ceramics in Deruta, from the Middleage to 800, without forgetting about a numerous group of contemporary pieces of well know artists like Abbozzo, Accardi, Dorazio, Mario Schifano, Turato and many more.
From the ground floor to the two above floors, the museum route is organized by period, from the archaic production to the XX century’s production.
The section of contemporary art is mainly formed by works from Multiplo d’Artista in Majolica and from Premio Deruta; the archeological section offers a significant panorama of the main technologies of pieces produced in ancient era and reunite works of greek, etruscan and roman ceramics.
From 2013 the archaeological route includes also the furnaces of San Salvatore; the archaeological research infact has brought to light a consistent number of ceramics.
Today an underground tunnel goes from the museum to the archaeological site and it allows an interesting itinerary from the ancient furnaces to the historical collections.