The stone of Art par excellence: from the ancient past to contemporary productions, its value remains undiminished
Text by Aurelia Bianchi
Michelangelo Buonarroti, master of the Italian Renaissance and creator of renowned works of Western art, is recognized for his penchant for particularly bright white marble. The artist used to select his own individual blocks of stone from the mines in Carrara--a city in Tuscany known for its quarries--claiming that in each piece he was already able to envision the statue that was trapped inside.
When it comes to marble, the art of Scagliola is an unusual and thoroughly fascinating technique. At Bianco Bianchi’s studio in Pontassieve, a town near Florence, inlays are created with a special mix of colored pigments and powdered marble bound with natural glues, vegetable extracts and selenite (scagliola is the Italian word for selenite).
This liquid mix of scagliola is poured into engraved channels, and then carved with chisel and hammer on a marble or stone slab. Subsequently delicate details are engraved on the polished surface. Bianco Bianchi and his two sisters, are the second generation to carry on this refined and complex tradition, creating impeccably unique pieces, the most renowned of which are the tables portraying the head of the Medusa, conceived for the villas of Gianni Versace in Lake Como and Miami.