Maiolica model for Material Culture Analysis
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Virgin and Child, 14th century, Perugia

This plate is composed in the limited colour palette of the 'Archaic' style of the Perugia region, and depicts the Virgin holding the naked child Jesus with a latin scroll encircling them. The border of the plate depicts a motif which is Islamic in inspiration.

The Maiolica Model for Material Culture Analysis

The most useful model for maiolica analysis is based on a synthetic version of the four models (Prown's, Montgomery's, and McClung's), which would make a broader understanding of maiolica possible, particularly in relation to other artifacts and to the historical and cultural context of the Renaissance.

The model consists of the following:

1. Describe the general appearance of the object.

2. Provide a formal analysis of the form of the object, its measurements, and the materials used in its construction.

3. Describe any decorative elements or design qualities, and provide a colour analysis.

4. Notice any discolourations, chipping, or distortions, which may indicate a certain passage of time and the nature of the object's usage.

5. Note a comparison to other objects of a similar grouping, either of design, time of production, usage or artistic depiction.

6. Stage of intellectual engagement: posit the idea of the function of the object, through its visual characteristics and modes of construction. Relate this to the general social history of the period, along with the cultural impetus of the Renaissance.

7. Appreciate the emotional response inspired by the object, and place this within a speculative analysis of its worth and role in society of the time, and attempt to realize the impact these manufactured goods had upon the sensibilities of the period, particularly in gender relations and the understanding of feminine and masculine roles.

8. Finally, place these findings within the wider cultural and social sphere, and conclude with an analysis of the role of this object in relation to today's values.


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