The Majolica Man

May 7, 2012 / Art & Archaeology
Deruta, Umbria
Since the early Middle Ages Deruta has been the centre of the production of majolica (maiolica). Majolica is no ordinary ceramic. It is made of terracotta and then covered in a white, unfired glaze that absorbs pigment like a fresco, making errors impossible to fix, but preserving the colors’ brilliance.

A specialist of this antique craft is Patrizio Chiucciu’, who considers himself one of the last of the “maiolicaro”.

He still makes his own glaze made of tin oxide, ground sand from the river and potassium sediment located in the wooden wine casks that he collects from his winemaking friends. The finished glaze creates a luminous opaque surface upon which he then traces his drawings, many inspired by subject matter and family crests from the Renaissance.

Patrizio takes his passion one step further and follows the ancient alchemy formulas to recreate the unique colors he paints with. Manganese makes an intense purple; copper produces green; cobalt creates blue; and the metalloid chemical, antimony, generates a particular yellow. And if you’ve ever seen a mustard and dandelion yellow Renaissance design surrounding an owl, you’ll agree that age-old traditions, art and science are still a magical mix.

Via Mancini, 6. Deruta. 075-9710747.

Jean Tori

by Jean Tori

Artist- Art website: Art blog: Design company: Jean also rents holiday houses in her medieval hamlet in Umbria at

10 Responses to “The Majolica Man”

  1. Brian McHugh

    Love this on the Maiolica Man! We have a couple of his pieces and we so enjoy them! Cheers!

  2. Incredible. I love the detailed craftsmanship. Wish I could watch him all day long! Beautiful pictures too. Thanks for the peek inside this wonderful art!

  3. Sharon

    I purchased a small bowl/plate from him several years ago and it is displayed proudly in my home. Everytime I dust it, I smile and remember my visit with him in his lovely shop in Deruta. Mine has a beautiful rooster and is truly a prized possession.

  4. Another master majolica is Antonio Margaritelli [on Via Tibernia in Deruta]. We have four beautiful wedding bowls in classic medieval style the the crafted for us.

  5. Lucille Sanfilippo Ponte

    Fantastic – Wish I had known about this when I was in Italy. I would have loved to see him work. His work is magnificent

  6. How wonderful that some of you already know his work! I have been visiting Deruta for years, but only discovered his shop a few years ago and I found his art work exquisite and his subject matter simply beautiful! We would often talk about his colors and how he prepares them himself, which is very special since so few still use the old methods. The continuity of history and tradition is always a joy!

    • Hi, sorry for delay in getting back in touch. I asked Patrizio and he does take orders. You can reach him by email or phone. Ciao, Jean

  7. Gianna

    Unfortunatly we went zipping right past the exit to Deruto. We shouhd have turned around.

  8. CR I will call him and ask. Gianna, next time! Also because Deruta has an amazing ice cream parlor I found by accident!


Leave a Reply