Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saving A Masterpiece: The Restoration Of The Last Supper

Pinin Brambilla Barcilon isn't a household name in the realm of history perhaps should be.

She's the mind and master behind the preservation and restoration of Leonardo's The Last Supper.

The painting barely made it out of WWII in precarious condition. Enough so that experts didn't think it could survive that much longer without disintegrating. 

More about her here:

"The true gift of Pinin Brambilla is not only to have brought back to a readable condition what was left of the original Leonardo painting, but also to have made available for electronic modern graphic software the data-base for the ultimate, supreme and unequalled form of restoration: the actual remaking of the Last Supper as Leonardo saw it that last night. Goethe’s dream, in his passionate report to his Lord the Grand Duke Charles Augustus of Saxony, and the dream of Giuseppe Bossi - to save the Last Supper from the almost complete devastation that he foresaw. That will be possible with the sophisticated printing technologies now available and with the legacy of knowledge and documentation discovered in twenty-two years of constant and patient endeavour by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon.

Never have so many owed so much - to one person!"

However, it's not without its critics as this report on 60 Minutes from 1996 reveals.

The restoration is an on-going process. 


Nice post about restoration in art at artwatchuk.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tartaglia: Italian Engineering Roots

One of the first Italian figures I came across in the Encyclopedia (remember those?) back when I was a teenager was the mathematician and engineer Niccolo Tartaglia. I may have posted about him in the past but hey.

Tartaglia discussed the trajectory of projectiles in Nova Scientia.

Otherwise known as the science of ballistics.

From Sciencephoto Library (link above):

"Tartaglia's artillery book. Frontispiece to the 1550 second edition of 'Nova Scientia' (New Knowledge, or New Science) by the Italian mathematician and engineer Niccolo Fontana Tartaglia (1499-1557). This work, on the trajectory of projectiles, was first published in 1537. The allegorical artwork shows Euclid (lower centre) admitting students to the circle of knowledge, which includes a mortar and cannon (left), and figures representing Tartaglia and disciplines such as arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy, and astrology. The upper circle, flanked by coats-of-arms, contains Aristotle, Plato, and an enthroned philosophy figure. The text is in Latin."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Complacency Not An Option

For a creative society like Italy, getting complacent threatens to erode its imagination.

Italian officials need to be on the cutting edge of ideas in order to keep up with its talented population. It's a tough gig but someone has to do it.

You can't sit around and hope a 'Ferrari' will fall onto their lapse. You need to tap into your resources.

One way to do this is to expand a nation's horizon by exposing itself to what's going on outside its own borders.

It's a great way to keep a keen eye on the competition.

In soccer, a great soccer manager sees what's successful and incorporates it into his system.

It's no different with countries.

Alas, while Italians show a remarkable interest in other countries, its institutions are not tapping into this potential.

"A study conducted by Italy’s Communications Authority (AgCom) and promoted by the Telecom Italia Foundation has found that only 53 percent of Italian schools offer initiatives aimed at internationalization, a figure that compares unfavourably to the remaining five EU countries included in the survey. According to the study entitled “The i-generation: adolescents, school and internationalization in six EU countries”, 97 percent of the schools in Germany, 89 percent in Spain, 88 percent in Poland, 81 percent in France and 79 percent in Sweden had signed up to an international project. However, in the half of Italian schools that did offer an internationalization activity, the level of participation of students was higher than all other countries apart from Germany. 
According to the Secretary-General of the Telecom Italia Foundation, the solutions required to improve the level of internationalization of Italian schools include the implementation of ever more innovative and challenging initiatives, especially with regard to the use of new technologies."