Lustre is an antique decoration technique which, through application of a metallic salt and a clay diluted with wine vinegar, (and special type of firing) produce chromatic iridescent effects of; golds, ruby reds, and silver. Of Middle-eastern origin, lustre is greatly diffused in the art of Arabic ceramics, reaching about the second half of the 15th century in Deruta and in few other Italian centers.It is unknown how, but thanks to the bartering with Spain and in particular with the island of Majorca, (from which came the name “Majorica” then “Majolica”) that the Renaissance made lustre ceramic famous.

“foto pittura lustro”

Lustre is applied with a paint brush on the surface of completed objects. They are then glazed and fired, and usually suitable spaces are left by the painter at the time of decoration, like in this fine inspiring Renaissance plate. They are then prepared, and fired a third time.

“foto in forno”

This deals with low temperature firing, of about 620°C, and is produced in a decreasing atmosphere, meaning that introducing smoking substances (such as; wood, broom, horse nails, sugar etc,.) may inhibit the oxidation (reduction) of metals which cause the special effects of pigment and refraction in recognition of the luster. After the firing and a slow cooling, the plate is recleaned.

“foto lustro cotto”

Clay residues are removed and the remaining smoke on the surface. This leads way to the shine and sparkle of the lustre.


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