The “Red”

7 September 2016
‘Jerusalem in Tuscany’
7 September 2016

Il "Rosso" by the workshop of Lorenzo di Piero Sartori

Workshop of Piero di Lorenzo Sartori


Museum of Ceramics, City of Montelupo Fiorentino

The 'Rosso di Montelupo' or 'The Red' was made in the workshop of Lorenzo di Piero Sartori in 1509. It was part of Gustave de Rothschild's collection in Paris and later belonged to the French antiquarian and collector Alain Moatti, from whom the Municipality of Montelupo bought it in 2002 in order to donate it to the Museum. It is particularly notable for the use of the colour red, which is used not only in small 'hatching' details or for highlights, as was customary for this colour at the time, but to cover unusually large surface areas. The chemical composition of the colour is still unknown; the similarity with Turkish products is such as to suggest that the raw material, a manganese oxide rich in arsenic, had come from Anatolia through trading between the ceramists of the city of Iznik (ancient Nicea) and the Florentine merchants who exported the ceramics of Montelupo throughout the Mediterranean basin. The "Rosso" has the typical shape of the so called 'bacili da acquareccia', or water basin which was used to collect the water poured from a small jug whilst washing hands. The jug would then have been placed in the centre of the basin.