Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Scarpelli Florentine Mosaic Workshop: A Master Artisan in the Heart of Firenze

If you were an artist, it would only be natural to be drawn to Florence. The city is awash with art as well as endless streams of tourists fascinated by art. In other words, the city has a magnetic pull that attracts just the right kind of consumer you'd want to reach--that is, people who appreciate and value art. 

So at various places around the city it is not uncommon to find street artists producing beautiful pieces in various mediums. They're buskers of a sort, and they've learned from experience what people like and how to crank it out. 

Filippo Bencini (photo by the author)
Then there are the artists who have set up studios and storefronts where passing art lovers can check out their wares. The Scarpelli Mosaici is one of these. It is located on one of the narrow streets that lead from the Duomo to the Accademia where Michelangelo's David resides. It features the work of the late Renzo Scarpelli, his son Stefano, and co-collaborators Filippo and Pier Paolo. (Renzo's daughter Catia is also active in the family business.)

Their mosaics are quite striking. They're not making paintings. They are creating images via inlaid marble, precious stones and other materials.

When I was at the Palazzo Pitti in April I was blown away by some of the inlaid craftsmanship that I saw--mosaics, tables and Renaissance-era decorative objects. This type of creative work did not end in 1600. The Scarpelli family continues that tradition still.

Here is a relatively simple, but elegant, design that has special meaning for me. "A Yellow Rose" is the title of a Jorge Luis Borges short story about the last moments in Dante's life. Once you look at the rest of the photos here, be sure to click on the link to their website at the end.

This was a surprise to see, a work Sr. Scarpelli made on commission:
"Washington Crossing the Delaware."
Tools of the trade.
"In every profession, excellence starts with the raw materials."--Scarpelli

If you're an artist in need of a shot of inspiration,
find a way to visit Florence. When you're in the neighborhood
take a little time to drop in on the Scarpellis.
Via Ricasoli 59/r

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