The official opening of this website, which you are honouring with your visit, took place on the 3rd of March 2007, the feast of “Invención de la Santa Cruz”. The project started in Andalucia, a vast region in Southern Spain, melting pot of millenarian cultures endowed with a rich artistic heritage, extrovert people, and a sensitive and generous soul. Most of the religious expressions in Andalucia are channeled through pious brotherhoods, the so-called “hermandades” or “cofradias”, which worship images of Jesus Christ in his Passion and Death, and also of the different mysteries of the Virgin Mary. Those images, as well as others of saints devoted by the people, are paraded in procession during Easter and other special days.
The ceramic altarpiece is a sort of “public altar” containing a religious image and displayed in the street. They can be found in many cities and villages, in religious buildings (churches, monasteries, and brotherhood houses), civic or military premises, or in private properties (either in the facades or in the interior). Its main components are flat painted tiles arrayed in mosaics, together with modeled and glazed pieces that provide relief and an impressive appearance. Their purpose is to evoke the displayed image, to regard as sacred a particular public or private spot, or to invoke protection from a patron saint.
This website tries, based upon the love to the brotherhoods and the ceramic art, to catalogue as broadly as possible the ceramic altarpieces that, either displayed by brotherhoods, other institutions, or private individuals, mark our cities evoking events from the Passion, “letificas”, or the lives of the saints. We hope to spread and popularize this art, in an altruistic but passionate way, to the glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Saints.
Our vocation goes beyond the limits of Andalucia, whose main production centre of ceramic art since the XVI century has been Sevilla, in particular the Triana district, besides the river Guadalquivir. The site is open for ceramic altarpieces and ceramicists from anywhere in Spain or abroad. Spain has been, and still is, a cradle of great ceramicists, spread across the country. Talavera de la Reina and Puente del Arzobispo (Toledo), Valencia and the neighbouring Manises, Onda and Alcora (Castellon), Cataluña, Galicia and many other locations, as well as Portugal, The Netherlands and Italy, have an opportunity in this site to show their ceramic altarpieces.
The Seville-born scholar José Gestoso y Pérez (1852-1917) was the
first person to coin the term “ceramophile” to refer to all those
fascinated by the ceramic art, the history of the glazed pottery,
the authors, and the contemplation of unique, unrepeatable
handcrafted pieces, resulting from the effect of fire upon
vitrifiable glaze. Thus, all those visiting this site and
experiencing these rewarding feelings can and must regard themselves
as “ceramophiles”, and, may, depending on their capabilities, do
their bit to spread this art so bond to the origins of mankind.
Due to the own features of the website, all the information
displayed in it is in constant process of update and completion. A
growing team of contributors from different parts of the world
provides text and visual material, bibliographical reviews, and
carries out field studies guaranteeing that the contents of the site
have the outstanding level of quality and reliability deserved by
Saint Justa and Saint Rufina, Christian martyrs that worked as potters during the Roman domination and patron saints of the ceramicists, are also regarded as patrons of this site.
Legend of the martyrdom of Saint Justa and Saint Rufina.
In time of the Romans, and later with the Muslims, the work of
potters was particularly important in Sevilla. In the area currently
known as Triana, by the western bank of the Guadalquivir, there were
two young girls, Justa and Rufina, which worked as potters.
The only purpose of this website is to show information about
religious ceramic altarpieces, in an altruistic and non-profit way.
Traducción de Ignacio Hidalgo González.
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