Like those in the 18th century who appreciated archaeological discoveries of classical antiquity, I try to make art using authentic materials and methods from the same time. Oh yeah, and sometimes I use humor.
In the Florence, there is an ultra touristy spot on the river Arno called Ponte Vecchio, or 'old bridge'. In its current form, it was supposedly finished in 1345, but a bridge had been there since Roman times. Here is a picture I took of it from the Uffizi museum.
On and along this bridge might be one of the highest concentration of expensive jewelry stores in all of Italy or the world for that matter, but on that mild October day, I was only interested in one kind of shop.
No, not a coffee shop, that would be later. The shops that held my interest sold pietre dure, also known as Florentine mosaic. If you are unfamiliar, pietre dure is stone art where the pieces are 'jigsaw' cut by hand with a little diamond bow lubricated with wax and special mud for extreme precision in fitting the pieces together. Some of the works look as fine as any painting because of the level of intricacy and careful gradation of color.
In one of the shops, I spotted what I was after. A modern table top utilizing an extrordinarily rare green stone used for palaces and noble residences in Roman times, lapis Lacedaemonius often erroneously called 'green porphyry' or 'serpentine'. I want to reconstruct a small part of the Roman senate floor using authentic materials, and this is the stuff I'm missing.
I talked with the sales lady and showed her some of my work and mentioned I'd be interested in buying any raw materials they could spare at double their cost. The lady seemed enthusiastic and took me to meet the owner at a different shop on down from the bridge.
The lady owner / manager of the shop conversed with the sales lady for a few moments (I couldn't speak Mandarin and she looked kind of mean besides), and the sales lady returned and told me that the materials I was interested in were not available at any price. Then she shrugged and pointed out that I could purchase the table top and break it up for the material. Destroying 11,000 Euro worth of perfectly good pietre dure art to get a few square inches of a pretty stone didn't seem like a good idea, so I thanked the nice sales lady and went on my way.
Note to the annoying shop owner in Florence: I obtained some of this material and have a contact in Rome to get more. Deal with it...
Mi piace la natura permanente di arte, in particolare il arte di pietra. Come chiunque altro, felice di imparare cose nuove e incontrare nuovi amici.
Viaggi in luoghi con la storia interessante è molto importante.
I've been learning the Italian language for a year now, but I think I'm not very good yet.