There is no better dream in an artists life than to study art in a beautiful place that calls to their soul. For me this is the history, renaissance, sculpture and the creative spirit of Italy. It is the place of inspiration filled with the art and sculpture of the masters that have gone before. In January I was given the amazing opportunity to study the art of Bas Relief at the Istituto Poligrafico dell’Arte della Zecca. The school is the only one of its kind in the world. Instructors are modern day Masters that have studios in italy and are truly gifted teachers. Only teaching at the school for one day each week the Professors enjoy sharing their wisdom, techniques and hard won experience with the 36 students attending the school.
I have been amazed at the talents of the students and how determined, goal oriented and driven they are.
The school is located in the beautiful city of Rome, where art is everywhere. An artist can only become better when you are surrounded by the beauty of the local sculpture, architecture and history that is on display in abundance.
At the school we are learning how to make our own tools for everything! And lessons are tradionally classicaly taught in copper engraving and printing, embossing, direct metal engraving, wax sculpting, relief modelling, molding, chemistry, enamelling, stone carving, gemstone carving, life drawing, new computer technology, archival art restoration, and chase and reposse. The school is associated with the italian mint and develops the talents of italy’s top artists and disperses them into the mints all over the world. Every year there is a calendar medal produced by the mint and created by a student.
to be continued…..
I will be discussing in my next blogs some of the disappearing arts such as copper engraving, embossing, wax modelling, direct engraving metal, stone /shell engraving and chase and reposse. I am Looking forward to sharing some of the art forms I am learning at the school.
Here is a Youtube link to a documentary done by a local Italian TV Show (I am at 23 seconds).
The making of a coin –
Marking the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo
“I am often asked whether we should not now, in these days of European unity, forget Waterloo and the battles of the past. My reply is, history cannot be forgotten and we need to be reminded of the bravery of the thousands of men from many nations who fought and died in a few hours on 18th June 1815 and why their gallantry and sacrifice ensured peace in Europe for 50 years” His Grace The Duke of Wellington.
18th June, 1815 marked a defining moment in history, the day that at the Battle of Waterloo Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, in collaboration with Prince Blücher and the Prince of Orange, sealed the fate of Napoleon Bonapart, ending the Napoleonic War and over 20 years of conflict in Europe. This day would bring over 50 years of peace and stability and decide the shape of the European continent for years to come.
The ability to command a broad spectrum of multinational forces behind a common goal was key to the outcome in 1815. June 2015 marks the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo and the legacy of the commemorations is centred on those intrinsic values of ‘Leadership, Respect, Enterprise and Cooperation’ that ensured a new era in Europe.
“I have been commanded to strike two Medals at the Royal Mint in commemoration of the battles of Les Quatre Bras and Waterloo; One, in gold, of the largest size, to embrace the exploits of the allied army under the Duke of Wellington the Prince of Orange and the Duke of Brunswick, and of the Prussian Army under Field Marshal Blucher. This Medal will probably be given to each of the sovereigns in alliance with the Prince Regent, to their ministers and generals.”
Ten days after the battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington proposed the creation of a commemorative medal. It fell to William Wellesley Pole, Wellington’s own brother to make the Duke’s vision a reality and he immediately commissioned not one, but two, medals. He asked members of the Royal Academy to submit designs for a bronze medal that would be given to all those who had served at Quatre Bras and Ligny and Waterloo, and a gold medal that would go to the Allied sovereigns, their ministers and generals. The medals were to be of the highest artistic merit and Pole invited the Royal Academicians to “show the world that this country is as superior in her taste as she has lately proved herself to be in the skill and valor of her arms.”
The world-renowned engraver, Benedetto Pistrucci, was assigned the task to design it. The result, the famous Waterloo medal, is celebrated not only for its mammoth dimensions, stunning beauty and historical significance, but also for the colourful story surrounding its development. It took Pistrucci more than 30 years to design the medal, but due to the complexity and the vast size of the medal it was never produced.
On 11th November at Apsley House, we will be joined by renowned historian and author, Peter Snow, CBE, along with members of the Pistrucci family, who will bring to life and recall extraordinary facts of the war that changed the future of Europe.
To order a free campaign medal ( postage required) click here:
Just recently the Pistrucci Artworks team joined an enthusiastic bunch of artists to sculpt from the live model. Drawing, painting plein air or portraiture from life always adds a certain energy to a piece of artwork.
Here is a snapshot of the gesture sculpted from life in Relief 3hours- Models have a hard time holding poses for longer than that with many breaks in between to stretch – You need to sculpt very fast to get the pose in correctly -didn’t quite get the hand in.
On my phone using the app -Sketch Guru – Artists can sketch anywhere —
To view our website go to http://www.pistrucciartworks.com
“In keeping with Artisanal Specs.’ love for and focus on the artisans, trades and specialty craftspeople that work thoroughly alongside architects, designers and builders to bring design to life, there is good reason we were so excited to cover The Art of Classical Details. Unlike many of the other wonderful books out on design, from the perspective of architecture, Phillip has worked with tender and extensive care to curate a publication that tells the story of contemporary classical architecture and design from the in-depth and multifaceted viewpoints of architects, designers, artists (himself), scholars and artisans and craftspeople; an opportune and rich perspective we do not often get to hear. With his own craftsman-like precision, Phillip has carved out a space to facilitate a discourse on design from an elevated and uniquely all- inclusive point of view. He brings to the table a pallet of voices that paint a larger picture of how and why it is worth carrying out the principles and practices of classical architecture in the modern world.” Alanna Bailey of Artisanal Specs Blog