“Laggioni”: wall and floor coverings

15th and 16th century
Savona

In short

The local term “laggioni” refers to maiolica tiles used in Liguria between the 15th and 16th centuries, to cover the floors and walls of living rooms, entrance hallways, staircases, and fireplaces in noble houses. With the arrival of potters from central Italy, mainly Pisa and Tuscany, to Savona in the second half of the 15th century, the original monochrome pottery was united with portrayals of a complete subject (independent cells) painted onto each individual tile, comprised of vegetation, animal, heraldic or mythological decorations.

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Ligurian potters painted with a brush on a flat surface, including decorations created by uniting four tiles (dependent cells) imitating the Hispanic-Islamic azulejos made in relief through the use of moulds (cuenca). Decorations of Islamic origin comprise white ribbons forming a rather complex interweaving design, at times with figures inspired by the Italian Renaissance in the centre, such as pierced hearts, heads, and vegetation or animal subjects. At the back of this room, we find the panel named Warrior, composed of forty-five laggioni, probably the work of Antonio Tamagno from San Giminiano, who was working in Savona from the early decades of the 16th century. This artefact was part of a figurative covering located in the Palazzo Del Carretto Pavese in Savona. Two other elements containing images of ancient warriors are conserved in Rome (Palazzo Barberini) and Turin (Palazzo Madama). The production of laggioni ended in Liguria at the end of the 16th century when they were replaced in the homes of the aristocracy by marbles, frescoes, stucco, and rich tapestries.

These ceramics are shown in room 4.

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