IDEA Ceramics is dedicated to the study of Isabella d’Este’s maiolica “credenza” or service of dishes. Though little studied by scholars today, maiolica was a popular type of earthenware in sixteenth-century Europe. This type of ceramic was fired at a low temperature and covered in a tin glaze that created a white ground for colorful narratives and personal emblems. IDEA Ceramics reunites the surviving twenty-three individual maiolica dishes from Isabella’s credenza for study. Isabella d’Este’s maiolica dishes no longer can be viewed as a single service, and are now divided among museums and private collectors across three continents. By viewing all twenty-three dishes together, researchers have a better sense of service as a whole, in which the individual dishes, painted narratives of Ovid and Virgil, read like pages in a book.
The Virtual Studiolo Team presents this video as a preview of coming attractions. In this project, we aim to reassemble in an immersive, 3D environment the magnificent rooms in the Palazzo Ducale of Mantua where Isabella d’Este displayed her collection of art, books, musical instruments, and antiquities. These rooms, known as the studiolo and the grotta (together sometimes called the camerini, or “little rooms”) were travel destinations for Isabella’s contemporaries, who vied for opportunities to see them.
Our goal is to make these Renaissance treasures accessible to anyone with a connection to the Internet, a smart phone, or a tablet device, and to offer even richer immersive options that may best be experienced in a museum or CAVE space. The project is conceived for students, educators, tourists, artists, and other curious explorers.
The Illustrated Credenza encompasses a film and research project that seeks to understand the creation, display, and function of Isabella d’Este’s narrative-painted maiolica.
Principal investigator Valerie Taylor (Pasadena City College) and Co-PI Lisa Boutin Vitela (Cerritos College) have presented the 25-minute film The Illustrated Credenza with an accompanying lecture in numerous academic venues.
Additional materials include a 7-minute film of the Inaugural Exhibition of artist Ester Mantovani’s interpretation of Isabella d’Este maiolica service. The exhibition, entitled A narrative-painted “credenza” for Isabella d’Este: The service by Nicola d’Urbino interpreted by Ester Mantovani, was on display in Mantua, Italy from November 2014 through January 2015.
❧ See the film & additional materials here