Bernard Palissy

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Palissy, Bernard

(bĕrnär` pälēsē`), c.1510–c.1589, French potter. For 16 years he worked in vain to imitate white-glazed pottery (probably Chinese), even burning his furniture to fire his kilns. He succeeded in producing a widely imitated pottery, Palissy ware, admired for smooth glazes in richly colored enamels. He was appointed (c.1562) royal potter to Catherine de' Medici and created platters, ewers, and other ornamented pottery for the French court. He is noted for pieces reproducing scriptural and mythological subjects in low relief and for his rustic pieces decorated with sharply modeled forms copied from nature—notably reptiles, insects, and plants. Imitations of this type of Palissy's ware became popular in the later 19th cent. He gave (c.1575–1584) public lectures on natural history. A writer of outstanding ability on a diversity of topics, including religion, chemistry, mineralogy, philosophy, and agriculture, he published two collections of discourses—Recepte véritable (1563) and Discours admirables (1580). Many of his views on nature have been confirmed by scientists. In 1588 he was sent, as a Huguenot, to the Bastille, where he died.

Palissy, Bernard


Born circa 1510 in Saintes or Agen, southwestern France; died 1589 or 1590 in Paris. French Renaissance ceramicist and scholar.

Palissy worked in Saintes (from 1539) and in Paris (from 1564). In the mid-1550’s, he developed a method of making ceramic wares covered with colored glazes. Particularly outstanding was his rustic ware, mistakenly called faience. This pottery generally consisted of oval dishes decorated with reliefs made from molds of fishes, shells, vegetation, snakes, lizards, and frogs. Palissy was also engaged in the natural sciences, including agronomy (he pointed out the importance of salts in the soil) and geology. In lectures that he delivered in Paris (1575–84) and in his published works, he championed the experimental method in natural science.


Oeuvres complètes. Paris, 1961.


Stepanov, B. I. “Bernar Palissi.” Nauka i zhizn’, 1939, no. 10.
Audiat, L. Bernard Palissy. Geneva, 1970.
References in periodicals archive ?
AGRICULTURE: Palissy was one of the first to identify "salts" and other minerals as nutrients necessary for plant life.
He exhibited his new pottery at the Great Exhibition of 1851, under the name Palissy ware.
This was first produced by Bernard Palissy (1510-1590) and was so admired that in 1563 he was named King''s Inventor of rustic ceramics and in 1567 he was summoned by Catherine de Medici to decorate her palace.
The cup and saucer was specially made for Twining & Company Ltd by Palissy, a subsidiary of RoyalWorcester Spode Limited.
Other events include the Parcours de la Ceramique et des Arts du Feu through the galleries of the Carre Rive Gauche and the Louvre des Antiquaires (14-19 September), where an exhibition devoted to the exuberant Renaissance ceramics of Bernard Palissy and his enduring legacy continues until 24 December.
This body of work is a surreal mix of fact and fantasy," said Dias, adding that she had been inspired by the flamboyant 16th century French Palissy ware.
Segundo ela, Erasmo, Campanella, Paracelso, Leonardo da Vinci, Giordano Bruno, Fracastor e Bernard Palissy, entre outros, apresentam certo paralelismo, em diferentes escalas, com a figura de Zenon.
En avancant les notns du ceramiste ou du biologiste le plus connu (<< Les societes que nous appelons primitives ne sont pas moins riches en Pasteur et en Palissy que les autres >> 1973 [1952] : 407), l'auteur de la Pensee sauvage entend suggerer les capacites universelles d'intelligence, de curiosite, de questionnement constant du monde sous la figure de ces modeles de devouement a la quete du savoir.
Esta linea de pensamiento inicia con Palissy (1575); se asume como hecho por las teorias neptunianas de Burnet (1681), Woodward (1695), Whiston (1708) y Scheuchzer (1708), pero que son explicadas sobre la base del libro del Genesis.
Esto lo entendio Pereira, otro integrante, quien escribio: "Aquel tesoro se completo con las lecturas que el [Lezama] me proporciono, cuya lista detallada no ofrezco aqui por los mismos motivos que tuvo el alquimista Palissy para enterrar su horno, Stradivarius para esconder la formula acustica de sus violines, mi bisabuela para llevarse a la tumba la receta del melindre del silencio y Lezama para decirme un dia: <<Yo digo mis secretos pero callo mi misterio>>" (Pereira, 1988: 599).
Bernard Palissy and Olivier de Serres and their role in nineteenth-century historiography figure in Chantal Liaroutzos's article, which shows how Balzac, Lamartine, and Michelet paint a heroic picture of Palissy.
Der Stil 'Rustique': Die Verwendung des Naturabgusses bei Wenzel Jamnitzer und Bernard Palissy.