Issue n. 13
August 01, 2001
~~~ ARLECCHINO NEWSLETTER
~~~ A free bi-weekly newsletter of 279 subscribers
~~~ on the discussion of topics related to
~~~ the made-in-Italy products, to the Italian way of life
~~~ and more generally to the Italian style.
~~~ supported by Studiosoft at http://www.studiosoft.it
~~~ Marco Piazzalunga, Publisher
~~~ Vol. 3, issue #13, August 01, 2001
IN THIS ISSUE
New Topics on Fine Arts in Italy/Europe (2)
1) Gladiators "Blood in the arena" at the Colosseum
2) Giovanni Fattori in Livorno
by Comune di Livorno
New Topics on Italian style (2)
1) Il Palio di Siena
by Fausto Cardinetti
2) Italy "lands" in Japan
New Topics on Italian handicraft works of art (2)
1) Arlecchino Jewels crafts it's jewelry in Italy
by Manuela Cardinetti
2) Brief history of Intarsia in Italy
by Jackson, E Hamilton
New Topics on Italian/European antique & collectibles (2)
1) Porcelain in Thuringia
2) Brief history of antique maps
by Grace Gallery
-----====(* FINE ARTS IN ITALY & EUROPE *)====-----
Subject: Gladiators "Blood in the arena" at the Colosseum
ROME Italy, July 16, 2001 - An impressive exhibition entitled "Blood in the arena,
("Sangue e arena) at the Colosseo" has been inaugurated in the ancient
amphitheatre on the 21st June. The exhibition returns gladiators and wild beasts, athletes
and acrobats, emperors and the public to the legendary scene. The exhibition has utilised
both archaeology and anthropology, using images, reconstructions, rare and precious
objects to evoke the atmosphere of the "ludus circense". From ancient times up
until the present the passions of the masses have been roused, and emperors, generals,
leaders of the people and entrepreneurs of all eras have been caused to fall into disgrace
or find their fortune.
The exhibition is organised by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma and corresponding
organisations in Naples and Caserta. The exhibition is the third part of the programme
"Homage to the Colosseum". It will be shown in the restored gallery in the
second floor passageway until the 7th January 2002. The disabled can reach the exhibition
by means of an external panoramic elevator. The story of the Flavian amphitheatre, which
was initiated at the wish of emperor Vespasiano in 69 BC, and was inaugurated by Tit in 80
AD is related. The Colosseum is also seen in relation to the theatres of Campania which
are depicted in paintings and sculptures. The famous fight between the supporters of the
amphitheatres in 59 BC is depicted in a fresco in Pompei.
There are also splendid arms and helmets from the "Barracks of the Pompeii
Gladiators" on display. The sculptures and mosaics show triumphs, fights and hunting
scenes, there are also reconstructions of machines which were used to creates the scenes.
Subject: Giovanni Fattori in Livorno
LIVORNO Italy, July 23, 2001 - Exhibition title: "One hundred restored masterpieces -
Etchings by Giovanni Fattori" - Dates: Until September 16 - Location: "Giovanni
Fattori" Municipal Museum, Villa Mimbelli, Livorno - Address: Via San Jacopo in
Acquaviva 65, Livorno - Telephone: 0586/ 808001 - Fax 0586/806118.
The exhibition includes 113 etchings owned by the museum which form a tribute to the work
of Fattori, considered to be the most important etcher of the nineteenth century. The
collection of etchings (in total 156) is the most important collection to be exhibited to
the public to date. It has been organized on a theme basis and illustrates the artistic
activity of Fattori as a fully developed artist and during his most independent and
creative phase. The exhibition has been divided into specific sections: landscapes, daily
life, work and toil, herdsmen, figures, animals and military life. Fattori's etchings are
truly extraordinary, also when considered together with his paintings which are not so far
removed from the seemingly harder, essential feel of his etchings which have nothing
superfluous about them. The values engraved in the works are absolute, strict and of great
substance. The landscape appears to be spaced out and unspoilt yet deep, the levels stand
out clearly, the air is "marked", the characters and figures are perhaps less
airy and more concentrated, yet capable of making a forceful impression and,
paradoxically, the "events" of everyday life are stronger and show more
suffering than on canvas. Light and shade are not in contrast but add body to and justify
the sense of wonder one has in front of criss-crosses of heavy lines marked in black,
sepia and vermilion ink that make everything liquid, intertwined and fascinating, much
like Fattori's strongly Tuscan character.
Comune di Livorno
-------=======(* ITALIAN STYLE *)=======-------
Subject: Il Palio di Siena
SIENA Italy, July 23, 2001 - This historical event has its roots dating back some 700 plus
years. You won't find any half-time shows or television commercials here, for Siena's
Palio, a horse race around the Piazza del Campo is about only one thing, passion.
The event held twice a year draws citizen groups of all ages together several days before
the event singing their songs of allegiance, loyalty and honor. They gather to set
strategy and dream about victory in this no-holds-barred, anything goes horse race. You
can't help but be captured by the excitement and competition that swells among the
Contrade (neighborhoods) that are Siena.
To be in the campo as the winning jockey is carried away on the shoulders of the victors
is something special to behold. You may think for a moment that you have gone back in
time, for it has been said 'The Palio is the Middle Ages .... Live.'
So who will you align yourself? The OCA (goose), ISTRICE (porcupine), or LUPA (she-wolf)?
These are only three of the Contrade that wait to see who will race twice a year, July 2nd
or August 16th. Ten of the seventeen Contrada will participate in a given race.
The jockeys, or assassini (assassins) as they are called, are purposely selected by the
Contrade leaders. The jockeys may be paid a substantial sum of money to win or they may be
paid even more to insure that the "enemy" Contrade is not victorious.
Although the jockeys are hired and celebrated heroes if they win, the real love, the real
passion is for the horse. The horse may lose his jockey during the race, but no matter,
for after the necessary three laps around the campo it is actually the horse, with or
without a jockey, which crosses the finish line first who will be declared the winner and
earn the drappellone (Palio banner).
Subject: Italy "lands" in Japan
FLORENCE Italy, July 28, 2001 - Among the countless foreign tourists that arrive in Italy
every year to witness its beauties, a major part is made up of the Japanese.
Super organised, their tours manage to see in just a few days all main Italian cities: an
exhausting journey which our Oriental guests try to exploit to the fullest to enjoy all
the aspects of our culture, against which they often feel inadequate.
To fill this gap and introduce our culture better, the greatest exhibition about Italy
ever organised abroad opened in Japan: a series of events called "2001 Italy in
Japan", promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who, in co-operation with private
sponsors, means to introduce Italian art, creativity, products, design and technology to
the Japanese world.
In Tokyo and other main Japanese cities exhibitions, conventions, operas and concerts will
be organised for over a year.
The programme, rich and of a calibre as has never been seen before, opened in the month of
March with the exhibition "Renaissance In Italy", managed by the Superintendence
of Fine Arts, hosted in the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, rich with over one
hundred masterpieces coming from the Uffizi Museum, Palazzo Pitti and other Florentine
The programme will continue with the preparation of other exhibitions which will touch and
involve other regions of Italy: "Pompeii and its inhabitants", "Leonardo
and the Engineers of the Renaissance", "Caravaggio and his followers",
"18th Century Venice".
As well as art there will be various cinema, photography, design and fashion reviews.
There will also be a thick schedule of lyrical opera set up by the most important Italian
opera theatres, such as the "Traviata", "Simon Boccanegra"
and"Turandot", and numerous concerts which will have as protagonists Salvatore
Accardo and Uto Ughi. Naturally everything "Made in Italy".
------=====(* ITALIAN HANDICRAFT WORKS OF ART *)=====------
Subject: Arlecchino Jewels crafts it's jewelry in Italy
BERGAMO Italy, July 19, 2001 - Why? The answer is simple. Italy is where the best quality
artisans are to be found. The fashions are set in Italy, not followed. This allows our
customers to get the hottest designs before anyone else, at the highest quality and lowest
Two thousand years ago, in the land of Arezzo, the Etruscan artisans and artists worked
precious gold in inimitable styles. Under the influence of the Renaissance, the art of
gold design flourished as jewelry boutiques began to blossom in Arezzo and throughout
The Goldsmiths' Guild was established in Vicenza in 1352 with over 150 artisans. Today,
Vicenza is one of the strongest and most active centers of jewelry production in Italy.
There are over 1,035 firms with over 10,000 employees. Vicenza manufactures over 40% of
the gold imported into Italy and exports over 144 tons of finished goods for a total of
1,300 billion lire. The most important items manufactured are machine-made chains, watch
cases and straps. However, all types of products are created using the most modern
Although Valenza has the shortest history in jewelry craftsmanship, today there are 1,245
companies with a total of 10,000 people employed in the sector (approximately three
quarters of the working population). While creative talent and manual skill are the
principle characteristics of jewelry from Valenza, the manufacturers are constantly
updating their production techniques with the latest technology. Valenza mainly produces
18k gold and precious stone jewelry. Mid-range and top quality jewels are manufactured in
this area with all products having one thing in common: The highest level of craftsmanship
and manual ability Italy has to offer.
Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to works by such artists as
Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo Da Vinci,is also home to designers of fine jewelry.
Continuing the tradition of the artisans from this city, jewelers here specialize in
high-craft pieces marked by innovation and design. La Nouvelle Bague is the city's best
known company with bright, sophisticated enamel pieces.
Subject: Brief history of Intarsia in Italy
VERONA Italy, July 17, 2001 - From the earliest times, wood decoration methods fall into
five categories: painting, gilding, engraving, carving, and intarsia. The ancient art of
intarsia - the making of decorative and pictorial mosaics by laying precious and exotic
materials into or onto a groundwork of solid wood - inspired both marquetry and inlay.
Through the centuries, rich patrons employed craftsmen to create beautiful works of art
from wood. Works of this sort are seen in the histories of ancient Egypt, imperial Rome,
Persia, eighth-century Japan, and fifteenth and sixteenth century Germany and Italy, where
the best examples are found. The traditional process, involving many long and demanding
steps, was both expensive and painstaking. First, rare and exotic hardwoods had to be
imported at great cost. The groundwork was slowly carved, lowered, and trenched. Next the
precious but difficult-to-cut hardwood was sawed and sliced into 1/4" to 1/2"
thick tiles and these mosaic tiles were fit and set, one at a time in a bed of glue or
mastic. Finally, the inlaid surface was scraped, rubbed down, waxed, and burnished.
According to Italian authorities, the word intarsia is derived from the Latin verb
interserere, "to insert". These authorities classify intarsia works as
"sectile" (in which fragments of wood or other materials are inserted in a wood
surface) and "pictorial" (in which pieces of wood completely cover a ground). As
in modern intarsia work, the wood slices were attached with glue. Historians agree that
the city of Siena was the cradle of Italian wood carving and inlaying. As early as the
thirteenth century, documents mentioned a certain Manuello who, with his son Parit, in
1259 worked on the ancient choir of the Siena Cathedral. Domenico di Nicolo, one of the
finest Sienese masters of intarsia and carving, worked for 13 years on the chapel in the
Palazzo Pubblico at Siena, using some of Taddeo Bartoli's designs. Di Nicolo's work also
included the doors of the Sala di Balia. Intarsia work was also made at an early date at
Orvieto, but the craftsmen were all Sienese. In Italy, where the techniques are more than
a hundred years older than in other European countries, Intarsia was originally made by
sinking forms into wood following a prearranged design, and then filling in the hollows
with pieces of different woods. The color of wood on the same plank usually differs from
place to place; tinting would not have obscured the variations in wood color.
Jackson, E Hamilton
-----===(* ITALIAN/EUROPEAN ANTIQUE & COLLECTIBLES *)===-----
Subject: Porcelain in Thuringia
MILAN Italy, July 21, 2001 - The re-invention of porcelain started in Thuringia around
1760. At three places in the south eastern thuringian forest at the same time the
porcelain was re-invented fifty years after Boettger invented it first in Meissen. Three
persons were responsible for that success: Georg Heinrich Macheleid, Johann Gotthelf
Greiner and Johann Wolfgang Hammann.
Georg Heinrich Macheleid, an enlightened man but afraid of people and a peculiar
character, was a child of the thuringian forest. His native country lay in the beautiful
landscape of the village Cursdorf near Oberweissbach. He was born on the 16th of October
1723 as a son of a carpenter and a later lab technician. For that time a lab technician
meant a person who was familiar with the production of medicine.
Above average talented Macheleid studied theology in Jena. It is known that he also
visited lectures of the pysician Professor Georg Erhard Hamberger in Jena.
After Macheleid had finished his studies he worked as a preacher in the principality of
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. Probable around 1755 he gave up preaching and started with the
re-invention of the mysterious "Arkanum".
In 1757 he worked in Sitzendorf, a beautiful small village in the valley of the river
Schwarza. There Macheleid tried to mix different local soils. A legend says that one day
he had succes after an old beggar sold him special sand from the surrounding hills. Many
days Macheleid tried to find the old beggar but he was not successful. So he had to find
out by himself where the old beggar got the special sand. Finally Macheleid found the soil
in a quarry near Koenigssee. The porcelain quality of the first experiments with the new
soil was very good.
So Macheleid decided to ask the prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt for an exclusive
privilege. The prince agreed and in spring of 1762 the factory in Volkstedt was founded.
The town of Volkstedt in Thuringia became famous for a special type of porcelain figurine
where cotton net is impregnated with porcelain clay so that, after firing, the delicate
lace pattern remains in the figurine.
Subject: Brief history of antique maps
LONDON, July 28, 2001 - Besides their historical and scientific interest many 16th, 17th
and 18th century maps can be classified as works of fine, artistic significance. They were
designed not only to instruct but also to attract purchasers, and the designs of the maps
reflected the artistic expression of the times in which they were created.
Starting in the late 16th century it became the fashion to encase the title of the map or
mileage scale in a decorative cartouche. A cartouche is an ornamental frame and the
earliest of these were drawn in a Strapwork design, a term applied to carved wooden
arabesques & rinceau designs which looked like patterns cut from sheets of leather.
As the years passed, styles changed and Baroque became fashionable; originating in Italy
in the late 16th century which incorporated heavy detail and bold sweeping curves. Baroque
was superceded in the early 1700's by the Rococo movement which swept Europe, after
evolving in Paris, and was characterized by delicate lines, curves and scroll motifs
intertwined with flowers and foliage. The name Rococo is derived from the French
'rocaille' and 'coquille' (rock and shell) both incorporated in this style of decoration.
Using the ornamental cartouche, in Strapwork, Baroque or Rococo design in one corner of a
map, engravers used: sailing ships and sea serpents probably whales - to decorate the
oceans and seas. Animals such as bears, deer, beavers, birds, elephants and tigers dotted
the landscapes, while natives dressed or undressed traded with navigators and explorers on
the shores of far-away lands, in scenic vignettes. Angels held up shields, banners, drapes
and swags at the top of maps which were not always oriented to the north; and armorial
motifs were favorites of the engravers, using canons, swords, pikes, trumpets and castles
to decorate maps of, military significance.
As handsome and decorative early art forms, original antique maps, engraved on copper and
handcolored in watercolor are just as attractive framed for display as paintings and
prints, and they are significantly more interesting in that they portray man's knowledge
of his universe or lack of it as the centuries unfolded. Later, with the development of
the chronometer and discovery of longitude, maps displayed greater accuracy, so that man's
concept of his universe was gradually enlarged to encompass the 5 continents and oceans of
his world, leading to world trade and ultimately to globalization as we know it today.
Early sea-charts were very decorative but also very inaccurate. The latter features often
caused ships to founder on rocks and go aground on shoals. Also the lack of accurate
longitude readings prior to the late 18th century frequently led mariners off course
during long voyages.
Nevertheless, the decorative aspects and inaccuracies of these early charts are part of
their attraction for us today.
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