Sgraffito is the name for ceramics in which patterns are scratched into a top layer of white slip when the clay is wet. This centuries-old decorative technique was introduced into Western Europe by way of Persia and the Byzantine Empire. In the 15th and 16th centuries Dutch potters also used these ‘drawings in clay’ on simple, everyday earthenware.
The sgraffito collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen dates from the period 1450-1550. The Dutch plates, bowls and cooking pots are part of the Van Beuningen-De Vriese collection. Art historical research of the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was done by curator Historic Design Drs. Alexandra Gaba-Van Dongen, Dr. Joanita Vroom and art history students Femke Speelberg and Jacoline Zilverschoon. Their writings are published in the research section
The futuristic aura of the museum’s brutalist-style concrete architecture, the large glass windows and the rusted metal Richard Serra artwork formed the base of the overall design of the exhibition. The collection was placed in a semi-circle in space so that it could communicate with the metal artwork through which visitors entered. The collection was exhibited on glass vitrine-shelves and was approachable from all sides so that maximum transparency was realized. The collection was digitally photographed and made available online in the collection section of this site (not available anymore).
Technical and spatial specifications:
The collection comprises approximately 100 sgraffito objects ranging from 5 to 50 centimeters in size. The vitrines used in the exhibition are property of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.