The Collector’s Cabinet

A final note while in this hard land, from the city of Toledo, Spain. We spent two very enjoyable hours at the Museo de Santa Cruz which houses, amongst other decorative arts items, the impressive collection of ceramics from the collection of Vincent’s Carranza Escudera.

The Carranza Ceramics collection is housed in a relatively small area of this large building (originally built in the early 1600s as a hospital). Yet the space is sufficient to display a large number of outstanding pieces from multiple regions of Spain.

I’ve looked at many examples of Iberian ceramics online. What impressed me most in seeing the items “live” is the gestural quality of the decoration in so many of the pieces – the fluid strokes of the artists as they applied glazes and pigments to the ceramic surfaces. The artists were not tight or rigid. In fact their work was generally very loose, free and spontaneous.

That’s the main impression I will carry away from this Museum’s collection: memory of the gestures frozen on clay that so succinctly capture the essential human urge to create beauty in our world.

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