top of page
Screen Shot 2022-07-07 at 10_edited_edit


The Illustrated Credenza encompasses films and ongoing research that seek to understand the creation, display, and function of Isabella d’Este’s narrative-painted maiolica. Maiolica is a type of tin-glazed ceramic tableware produced by a number of Italian masters of the early to mid-sixteenth century, who raised this apparently utilitarian genre to the level of an art form.

The Illustrated Credenza includes a 25-minute film directed by Valerie Taylor in which contemporary ceramist Ester Mantovani illustrates the techniques of master maiolica producer Nicola da Urbino, who made gorgeous, illustrated plates for Isabella and a number of her contemporaries.  


 Also linked below is a 7-minute film by Valerie Taylor that captures the spirit of the Inaugural Exhibition (November 2014 -January 2015) of Mantovani’s interpretation of Isabella d’Este's maiolica service. Enjoy!


For reviews of Mantovani's work, see "The Illustrated Credenzaby Paola Cortese in the 28 November 2014 edition of the Gazzetta di Mantova, and Paolo Marelli's review of the  month-long exhibition in the State Archives of Milan (November 2015 to the 5 November 2015) in the online edition of the Corriere della Sera. See also Exhibition Catalogue for A narrative-painted “credenza” for Isabella d’Este: The service by Nicola d’Urbino interpreted by Ester Mantovani, edited by Daniela Ferrari and Mariarosa Palvarini Gobio Casali.

If you would like to have Valerie Taylor and Lisa Boutin Vitela present on their films and their work on  Italian Renaissance maiolica, please contact them here: ILLUSTRATED CREDENZA PROJECT Presentation Information.


Tip: Extending our perspective on Renaissance maiolica is Lisa Boutin-Vitela's project (currently in re-development), IDEA Ceramics, which offers a broader perspective on maiolica collections in the period and their narrative themes.


In this film by Valerie Taylor in collaboration with Mario Piavoli, artist Ester Mantovani replicates Isabella d’Este’s maiolica service by Nicola d’Urbino to investigate the art and design of Italian Renaissance ceramics at the Gonzaga court of Mantua.

This film by Valerie Taylor and Mario Piavoli provides a tour through the exhibition,

A narrative-painted “credenza” for Isabella d’Este: The service by Nicola d’Urbino interpreted by Ester Mantovani, which was on display in Mantua, Italy from November 2014 through January 2015.

bottom of page