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Learn the ancient craft traditions

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

The educational workshops begin with the School of Decoration of the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples

What does it mean to involve young creative minds and develop a dialogue with the local area? Art forms have demonstrated over time that they are able to bring contemporary discourses to the general public, becoming a means of expression and comparison.

The Made in Cloister project is from the outset focused on creating a link between the world of contemporary art and the city of Naples. Through the creation of exhibitions designed for the fascinating cloister of Santa Caterina a Formiello, the Foundation generates dialogue between international artists, craft traditions and the community.

The Neapolitan city has long been a point of reference for many craft traditions, largely replaced starting from the nineteenth century by the intelligence and speed of industrial production. To this day, many shops still preserve the knowledge handed down from generation to generation, which risks being forgotten in the near future.

The workshops with the artist Ara Starck, the glass craftsman Paolo Gambardella and the students of the School of Decoration of the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples want to bring the new generations closer to the techniques of working with stained glass, a material that will become protagonist of the Parisian artist's exhibition, opening in October 2023.

The workshops and the exhibition are in collaboration with the Cologni Foundation, an organization for the promotion and enhancement of Italian craftsmanship.

But how was cathedral glass born and how has it been used over the centuries?

Imagine entering a cathedral illuminated by high windows crossed by light that enhances its brilliant colors. The history of decorating and manufacturing stained glass is very ancient, dating back even to the ancient Romans.

They were born with a narrative function, to tell episodes from the Bible and spread the Christian message. But their greatest diffusion is found in Gothic architecture, as evidenced by the French cathedrals of Chartre, La chapelle and Notre Dame.

It's funny to think that despite the centuries have passed, the manufacturing technique has remained unchanged over time. Is simple. It begins by drawing a sketch to study the image and its coloring. It continues with the creation of a cardboard in definitive dimensions, useful for cutting the corresponding glass pieces, then assembled in the final composition. What can be difficult is the definition of the details, the nuances of a face, the drapery. Here painting comes in handy. The brush gives shape to faces and clothes, dipped in a mixture called grisaille which is fixed on the surface by cooking.

What will young artists, curators and cultural operators think of this experience? We ask him in small interviews soon published on our blog.

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