Nib Italian

Nib Italian

Stipula pen's and semiprecious stones by Simone Ficozzi

The new Franciscus I Medices" is a fountain pen that represents Stipula's homage to the world of semi-precious stones.

The birth and development of pittura di pietra, stone painting," interlaces with the history of the Medici's Florence. In fact, they revealed a refined taste in selecting semi-precious stones and artists, often summoned from far-away lands to execute the works of art.
During Cosimo I's and Francesco I's reign, the artistic heritage evolved to reach it's highest splendour; particularly with Francesco I who spent part of his days in the Casino di San Marco" following the works of the semi-precious stones. At San Marco, Italian and foreign craftsmen moulded vases and chalices in semi-precious stones or rock crystal, commonly mounted with gold accents, gemstones, and inlays of other precious materials truly works of artwhich continues to arouse much admiration and wonder still today. From the glittica, the modelling art of semi-precious stones, which was practiced for centuries, developed into miniatura pittorica, pictorial miniature." It was then Ferdinand who in 1588 solemnly founded the Opificio delle Pietre Dure with a grand-ducal decree.
In order to find these semi-precious stones, one had to search along mountain paths and creek beds for the hidden colours while constantly discovering the secret treasures that lie within the seemingly innocent and dull rocks and pebbles once cut by the artist's hands.
Little by little, the art was enriched by the inclusions present in the ores and rocks, which were used to portray certain effects not obtainable by other ways. For example, the golden lapis lazuli of Persia that was used to represent the sky, contains by nature calcium carbonate that give the unique inclusions in the stone, and thereby rendering the idea of clouds. The new art leaves within itself the technique of mosaic a tessere that is composed of many small pieces of various shades of colour and details of the marble. These details then are used to express the different aspects of nature. The research for detail is truly microscopic and where the veining of the stone is not able to express certain elements, a metallic point intervenes to carve an eye or a wrinkle. These carvings were then filled with a special hard gum that once polished, became smooth and shiny. This detailed work obligated one to create also special utensils for cutting the stone with thin and ultra-resistant wires. In addition, there were many studies executed to build a special support with a centre used with commesso that at the very least could be supported with one's fingers and find a warm mastic that held the pieces together during the lengthy polishing work.
The subjects during the first period were highly symbolic or of floral decoration that eventually evolved into clothing, drapery, eighteenth-century architecture, landscapes; all rich of the natural vivacity of the stones. The influence of the Neapolitan neoclassicism favoured the production of mythological scenes, and still life of flowers and fruit.
Successively, the Opificio became incredibly well known that Florentine artisans were requested from abroad it is, in fact, documented that there was a significant influence in the construction of the Taj-Mahal in India. In Naples, there was also established an opificio that although having existed a brief time, is proof to the immense popularity of this art during this period. Testimonies of collections of semi-precious stones, inaugurated by the Medici family, can be found in the numerous European palaces, as well as diffused throughout the world. When in 1743 the Medici dynasty had ended, the Opificio continued their works under the new reign of the Lorena family. Then in 1806, a royal decree instituted an exclusivity on the production of the works in semi-precious stones a protection from the spread of low quality imitations.
In 1838, a foundry of bronze was established, and successively, a workshop for galvanization which eventually corrupted the original nature and intentions of the opificio.
Today, the institution engages in study and research while also fervently dedicated to the restoration of inlaid work, mosaics, and gemmed goldsmith's.

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