The first work phase begins with the preparation of what is called “Arriccio”.
That is a kind of mortar, rather irregular and gritty, made up with lime and sand and which does two jobs: First it is useful to guarantee that the fine finishing plaster adheres to the structure, thanks to its ‘grainy’ consistency, secondly to preserve the humidity that it absorbs from the outer layer.
In order to make it more elastic so as to facilitate the application onto a surface which is not rigid, a natural, non-toxic, biodegradable resin is added which does not alter the technical characteristics.
These substances are mixed by hand, adding the water necessary for the texture required little by little, until a ‘honey-like’ consistency is reached.
Then one takes a folded cloth of rough linen called “Patta”, this is the cloth of natural fibre normally used as a support for the frescoes stripped from the walls and transferred, either to be better conserved or to be restored to their original state, which is fixed to a non-rigid frame (sheet of high density polystyrene) by means of small nails at the four corners.
Upon this the “Arriccio” is spread with a trowel and care must be taken to keep it even and to spread it perfectly with a plastering trowel, so as to obtain an even thickness of about 3 millimeters.
The next day, when the ‘Arriccio’ has lost about 90% of its water, creating the basis through which it will literally attract the second layer of damp material, one layer of fine plaster is spread, prepared by mixing very fine grained cement with lime and a small quantity of plaster of Paris until the smoothest possible surface is obtained.
After this the chosen colours are prearranged, they must all be natural mineral earths crushed in a mortar then powdered in a tumbling barrel together with spheres of ‘grés’ so that the result can be used with a “duster-bag” to be placed on the plastered “Patta” or ‘cloth’.
This is the result you obtain with the technique of transferring the basic pigments from the “duster-bag” to the plaster.
At this stage, while the plastered “cloth” is resting on a table placed in a naturally ventilated area, waiting for the substances to reach a consistency which will make manipulation possible, a frame must be prepared in seasoned and smoked pine wood, to which it will be fixed, (it is necessary to use smoked pinewood to make sure that any possible larvae or parasites are eliminated).
Before this, however, the edges must be finished off removing any excess material so that the canvas can be stapled round the edges.
This edge will then be covered with a strip of edging-wood made to look antique, so as to reach the same ‘look’ and finishing effect that you would expect to find in the original works stripped and transferred onto panels in order to guarantee their preservation or to be displayed in exhibitions.
Having reached this point, the next stage is the hand finishing, carried out on an easel. Here below you can see the image which reproduces the work of art used by the painter to complete his job.
The artist, once again using natural pigments diluted in water on his palette and adding a small percentage of resin to guarantee that they amalgamate with the basic colours, goes over the design and the hues by hand heightening the contrast, bringing out the detail and the highlights, so as to reproduce to as near perfection as possible, the actual appearance of the original work.
After many hours, having reached the degree of finishing that copies to satisfaction the characteristics of the work of art being reproduced, the item is initialed and put to dry under a jet of hot air, thus accelerating the natural drying process, and inducing casually the formation of micro cracks, which do not compromise the stability of the material, but confer that “antique” “used” look which enables us to reach an exact copy of the original.
Our collection finds in “Classicism” its inspiration for the selection of its subjects and the techniques for their execution.