One a blustery March day, I was walking behind the Duomo of Siena. A small table with a gorgeous Renaissance style icon, presenting the location of an artisan’s studio, drew my attention.
Upon entering the workshop, the young gentleman introduced himself as Marco Caratelli. A small dog was curled up on a pillow in the corner. Heat created a welcomed respite from the fresh late winter weather.
The shelves of the small workshop were lined with extraordinarily beautiful icons; wings of angels, faces as if freshly taken from a Duccio di Buoninsegna work of the early Renaissance.
Marco graduated with an art degree from the University of Siena’s School of Art in 1998 and began his exploration of ancient techniques, now refined under his well experienced hand.
His dedication to keeping the art form alive is reflected in his commitment to using techniques outlined in Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro del Arte, early 14th Century studies of artists and the materials used to create early Renaissance panels and frescoes. Most of the wood types he uses, aged at least thirty years and specially selected for his purpose, are walnut, poplar or chestnut. Gesso or plaster is then applied to the wood. Twenty-four carat gold leaf follows on top of a layer of “bolo armenico”, a mixture of red clay and water.
Special tools, called punzoni or bulini, are used to create the incised patters which form the halos or other ornamentation on the icon.
When the time comes to paint, Marco uses only natural pigments and colors, following the traditions of the Renaissance iconists.
The texture of Italian culture is formed of many sources; food, wine, landscape, history, architecture, and art. When Marco’s hands touch aged wood, apply gesso, gold and paint inspired by centuries of artistic heritage he brings the past alive. At a time when we are driven by an unfounded need to have everything ‘now’, artists like Marco, their work and their passionate commitment to cultural memory are reminders of how we arrived to today and how we must keep the past alive.
NEW YORK OPENING
You can contact the gallery on +1.212.925.6951.
APRIL 8 – 17, 2016
THE ART OF MARCO CARATELLI
The opening reception, April 9, 2016 from 4:00PM to 7:00PM offers the opportunity to meet Marco and view his historically important work.
If you cannot attend this exhibit, are next in Siena or wish to perhaps own one of his works, you can contact him on www.passatonelpresente.com.
You can find Marco, of a day when in Siena, at Via Monna Agnese 20. The street is located down the hill below the Baptistery entrance of the Siena Duomo.
For those who understand Italian, the link below is a recent interview with Marco from Siena TV.