The Spring 2017 SACI sculpture class (undergraduate, post-bac, and MFA students) went on a field trip into the marble mountains of the Apuan Alps near Pietrasanta and Carrara to see bronze casting and marble carving in action.
The class headed to Carrara and the quarries of Colonnata and Fantiscritti to walk in the beautiful white cathedral “caves” of Carrara — the same area where Michelangelo chose his marble to carve some of his most famous works of art. In fact, some students even found chunks of marble for their next carving projects.
In Pietrasanta, in the Province of Lucca, they visited the Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral, and the surrounding area populated with a temporary exhibition of red hot chilli pepper sculptures by Giuseppe Carta (on view through June 11, 2017) with the largest pepper measuring 16 meters!
They also visited the marble studio of Nicola Stagetti where they were able to watch modern methods of sculpting in marble, as well as the bronze and mosaic sculpture studio of Nall, an artist from Alabama.
The next stop was the Mariani Fine Art Bronze Foundry, one of the big foundries in the world of sculpture. Normally visitors are not permitted into this foundry because the processes and the artist copyrights are protected, so photos are not usually allowed. But with SACI Sculpture Instructor John Taylor, the class was given special permission to visit the foundry. SACI students were able to watch the molten bronze being poured which takes place at a temperature of 1,300 degrees! They also visited the wax, investment, and patination rooms to see the other steps of the process where artists can bring their sculpture designs to be fabricated.
And the last stop for the trip before heading back to Florence was a spring walk on the beach of Marina di Pietrasanta to hunt for interesting objects washed up on the shore. See more images and information about SACI Sculpture class visits to Pietrasanta and Carrara in previous posts. (All photos courtesy of John Taylor.)