PICCOLPASSO, Cipriano di Michele
(b. ca. 1523, Castel Durante, d. 1579, Castel Durante)


Italian writer and maiolica painter. He came from a patrician family of Bolognese descent that had been settled since the mid-fifteenth century in Castel Durante, which was an important centre for the manufacture of maiolica. He was a humanist by education and an amateur devotee of the arts. He was also active as a dilettante poet, land surveyor, civil and military engineer and draughtsman.

Between 1556 and 1559 he wrote Li tre libri dell'arte del vasaio ("The three books of the potter's art"), which are a storehouse of information on the techniques of maiolica from his practical workshop experience, from the choice of clays and their refinement, the shaping of the body, the composition of the glazes, the preparation of the colours. The manuscript is enriched with his drawings of typical decorative motifs.