THE ANCIENT “PHARMACY” OF S. MARIA NOVELLA: 400 YEARS OF HISTORY IN THE VERY HEART OF FLORENCE

© Photos: ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI / OFFICINA PROFUMO-FARMACEUTICA S.M.NOVELLA, FLORENCE (Italy)

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Last Friday night, the 22th of May, 2015, the presentation of my new book “Quando il giorno era una freccia” (English translation: “When the Day was an Arrow”) took place in Florence in the historical rooms of the ancient “Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica of Santa Maria Novella”, via della Scala 16. Benedetta Alphandery, co-owner, kindly welcomed the guests in this very special place we admire in the very heart of the Florentine City.

The enchanting and capturing “Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica of Santa Maria Novella” is part of Florence history. During the thirteenth century, thanks to a growing economic development, Florence attracted crowds of outcasts in search of work, finding asylum in the city centre; they camped in villages where they were miserable and unhealthy.

They dedicated themselves to support their new mendicant orders. The Franciscans settled east of the city, where they settled in the area of the shops of the dyers and tanners, polluting water and air and where the church of Santa Croce was built, completed during 1800s. The Dominicans settled in the city walls to the north-west: first at the church of San Pancrazio, then in that of Santa Maria delle Vigne, which, in the middle of the fourteenth century, was rebuilt and named the Santa Maria Novella. The Carmelites settled in the south, in a booming area, where workers lived in poor carders and Battilana: Santa Maria del Carmine was consecrated in 1422.

Fra’ Angiolo Marchissi was one of Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella’s most eminent apothecaries and aromatologists. He managed the pharmacy for about fifty years until his death in 1659, just over 350 years ago. He was very young when he entered the convent as a lay brother. He donned the Dominican habit in 1612, the year the Officina was officially founded, and he immediately began providing the impetus behind the important period of scientific research that enhanced the fame of the pharmacy already known since its origin in 1212, when Dominican monks settled in Florence.

Not only did Angiolo Marchissi, a qualified apothecary since 1613, mix simple medications with formulas from the Ricettari Fiorentino; he is considered a valid scholar who helped establish the medical and chemical-pharmaceutical sciences in Florence. The renown of the pharmacy’s products is attributed to Fra’ Angiolo Marchissi. A 17th century guidebook on the “Jewels of Florence” states that “many cities in and beyond Italy supply themselves with these medications and precious essences”.
One of his many formulas is for Anti-hysterics Water, a medication made from essences of spices and herbs, including Costmary or balsamite (Balsamite major Desf.), cultivated in the monastery’s garden for its aromatic and medicinal properties. This same herb is still used today in the Santa Maria Novella Water and Lozenges, still made according to the centuries old recipe.

In 2012 Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella celebrated 400 years of uninterrupted business, in the name of tradition and innovation. Raw materials of the highest quality are still used and the apothecary fathers’ artisanal procedures are still followed, yet the company avails itself of modern technology and state of the art equipment. Benedetta and Eugenio Alphandery, general manager and co-owners of Officina comment on this: “Given our passion for both antique and modern cars, we could compare this company to a convertible from the 1930’s with hand hammered bodywork crafted by an artisan and a powerful, modern motor, perfect brakes and suspension, all exhalting the car’s beauty and the pleasure of driving it.”

For the occasion major restoration has been undertaken at the historic shop on Via della Scala to restore the ancient pharmacy to its original appearance. This restoration project represents a milestone in Officina’s long history. Production is now carried out on Liberty style premises on Via Reginaldo Giuliani, in the north of Florence about 3 km from the head office on Via della Scala. All the products are made here with equipment that has been specially designed and custom-built for each specific purpose. Each product has a peculiar story, for example the Cologne and Pot pourri, two of the company’s distinguishing products.

The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella’s museum circuit is comprised of the areas which were once the cellars. The museum was established to display the machines and equipment used for production, as well as the antique ceramics, as well as glass, copper and bronze objects.

INFO AT:

http://www.smnovella.it/

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THE NOTTINGHAM YOU DIDN’T EXPECT… MODERN ART UNDER THE SKY AND ALONG THE STREETS

© Roberto Alborghetti – LaceR/Actions, Nottingham, 2015

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During my recent stay in East Midlands for The Ghost Bus short films premiere (March 27, 2015, Bartons Plc, Chilwell) I had the opportunity to have a look around in the very heart of Nottingham trying to catch some images of torn and decomposed posters, natural cracks and scratches, urban and industrial tokens (yes, I can’t resist!).

Marysia Zipser, founder of ACT Group (Art-Culture-Tourism) and promoter of the short films premiere together with Simon Barton, kindly led me through squares, streets and places from King Street to Old Market Square, from Castle Road to St.Mary’s Gate… And so, while a really beautiful city flowered before  my eyes, with its history and monuments, I also took lot of images for my “Lacer/actions” project.

Nottingham offered me so many “signs” layered on its walls, doors and gates. As an open air gallery, the city of Robin Hood and the incredible red bricks, revealed itself also through absolutely random cracks and scratches. In every street I walked along I noticed particulars and details linked by a common “language and style”.

Along King Street I captured blue oriented images. Near the ancient “Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem” I took pics of grey cracks. In Broad Street some ripped posters presented details in which I had no difficulties to see pop-art elements. And again, I caught black and white images in Hounds Gate, red and blue ones in Low Pavement. Along Goose Gate, outside an alley way, I saw (and impressed on my camera) images that mixed up ripped papers, glue castings, spontaneous drawings left by some anonymous hands.

Yes, in Nottingham, I found in decomposed matters a lot of styles and art streams: from modernism to cubism, from abstractionism to post-modernism, from vorticism to impressionism… Yes, so lot of “ism”, but I prefer to call all those random and natural images with my favourite term: “Lacer/actionism”… Also Nottingham is really an “open air” art museum that you may visit every day, without paying an entrance ticket. It’s enough to walk along the streets, open your eyes wide and let your perceptions flow.

P.S. I thank Marysia Zipser so much for her kindness… Yes, several times I got lost along the tour while shooting photos, but she had always the patience to wait for me…

THE OCTAGONAL BAPTISTERY (XI CENTURY) ON LAKE COMO: THE BEAUTIFUL SETTING FOR MY UPCOMING SOLO SHOW

 

My upcoming solo exhibition – “Colors Of An Apocalypse 2015″ – will take place in a beautiful setting: the amazing Romanesque Baptistery on Lake Como, Italy. My show is scheduled for 3 days, on July 3-4-5,  in the beautiful Lenno town, in the historical center –  50 meters from the lake shore! – where we admire one of the most stunning examples of Romanesque art in Northen Italy. It stands on the left side of the parish Church, where we may find an incredibile Romanesque crypt.

BANNERThe Baptistery is dedicated to St. John (The Baptist) and built in the 11th Century. Its structure looks incredibly simple and essential: we see a squared bell tower and an apse pointed to north. The octagonal plant has a simbolic meaning: in fact number eight coincide with the 7 days of creation plus the one of the Resurrection. Other characteristics signs: the vault, the portal with his three archs, and the inside where you can find fragments of medieval frescos and a baroque pictorial cycle.

The octagonal Baptistery and its enchanting structure will give strenght and evocative power to my exhibition which will show 25 works from my “Lacer/actions” project. Every artwork will be introduced quoting a phrase  from “The Apocalypse of John”. Images and words to suggest a trip through hopes and tragedies of human life and beings.

Follow the flock of doves… “The Apocalypse” is approachin’…     

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THE FIFTH OF LACER/ACTIONS: 18 VISUAL ARTWORKS FOR L.V. BEETHOVEN (VIDEOCLIP)

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Eighteen artworks from Roberto Alborghetti’s Lacer/actions project (pictures of torn and decomposed publicity posters, natural cracks and scratches, urban and industrial matters) go with the celebrated and universally known “Allegro con brio” from Simphony No.5 by L.V.Beethoven. 

© ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI - LACER/ACTIONS, 2014 - In the image: detail of a boat's hull

© ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI – LACER/ACTIONS, 2014 – Detail of a boat’s hull

LACER/ACTIONS 4 E X P O 2 0 1 5 : THE BLACK VERSION CLIP

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Roberto Alborghetti ‘s Lacer/actions project 4 EXPO MILANO 2015. The 4 images of the clip aren’t paintings or digitally made compositions, but real scenes from the real world. They’are from decomposed and torn publicity posters, natural cracks and scratches, urban and industrial matters. Soundtrack by Audiomachine.

https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/

Le “Lacer/azioni” di Roberto Alborghetti per EXPO MILANO 2015. Le quattro immagini mostrate nel videoclip non sono dipinti o composizioni realizzate al computer, ma scene reali del mondo reale. Come tutte le altre decine di migliaia di “lacer/azioni”, esse sono state riprese da manifesti pubblicitari decomposti, crepe e graffi naturali, materiali urbani e industriali.   

https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/

EXPO BLACK 1

 

MY “VISUALS” 4  E X P O  MILANO 2015

“LaceR/Actions” is a multidisciplinary project and research about the apparent chaos of ripped and decomposed publicity posters, natural cracks, crevices, scratches and urban and industrial signs and tokens (during my research around the world  I  collected so far about 75.000 images). Transferred on canvases, reproduced on lithographic prints or textiles (as pure silk), re-built on collages or scanned in videoclips, the images of torn and disfigured posters and natural cracks give new meanings and expressions to paper lacerations and matter decomposition.

One of my most recent shows was displaced for 100 days in the enchanting Aldobrandesca Fortress (XIII Century) in Tuscany (Piancastagnaio, Siena, Italy). In the last two years I worked on these projects:  “Contemplations and Lacer/actions” (album, videoclip, installations, inspired by Thomas of Bergamo Scripts, 1563-1631), “Atelier of Colors and Emotions” (a project which involved autistic kids), “Lacer/actions on Aluminium” (11 installations for Fai Private Collection, Italy). My works are part of Contemporary Art Collection (Mercatello sul Metauro, Marche, Italy) and participating to “An Exhibition, a Restoration” in Norcia (Umbria, Italy) from July 12 to September 7, 2014.

My recent “The Ghost Bus” project was carried out with Bartons Plc and Act Group, Beeston, Nottingham, UK (January-March 2015) with a great short films premiere on March 27, at Bartons Plc, Chilwell-Nottingham. My next solo show (“Colors of an Apocalypse 2015″) is sheduled on Lake Como, Lenno, Italy, on July 3-4-5, 2015, in a special and spectacular location: the St. John Baptistery (XI Century), a beautiful example of Romanesque art.

 

 

 

 

LACER/ACTIONS 4 E X P O 2 0 1 5: THE WHITE VERSION CLIP

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Roberto Alborghetti ‘s Lacer/actions project 4 EXPO MILANO 2015. The 4 images of the clip aren’t paintings or digitally made compositions, but real scenes from the real world. They’are from decomposed and torn publicity posters, natural cracks and scratches, urban and industrial matters. Soundtrack by Audiomachine.

https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/

Le “Lacer/azioni” di Roberto Alborghetti per EXPO MILANO 2015. Le quattro immagini mostrate nel videoclip non sono dipinti o composizioni realizzate al computer, ma scene reali del mondo reale. Come tutte le altre decine di migliaia di “lacer/azioni”, esse sono state riprese da manifesti pubblicitari decomposti, crepe e graffi naturali, materiali urbani e industriali.   

https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/

LACER-ACTIONS 4 EXPO 2015

E X P O 2 0 1 5

LACER-ACTIONS 4 EXPO 2015

MY “VISUALS” 4  E X P O  MILANO 2015

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“LaceR/Actions” is a multidisciplinary project and research about the apparent chaos of ripped and decomposed publicity posters, natural cracks, crevices, scratches and urban and industrial signs and tokens (during my research around the world  I  collected so far about 75.000 images). Transferred on canvases, reproduced on lithographic prints or textiles (as pure silk), re-built on collages or scanned in videoclips, the images of torn and disfigured posters and natural cracks give new meanings and expressions to paper lacerations and matter decomposition.

One of my most recent shows was displaced for 100 days in the enchanting Aldobrandesca Fortress (XIII Century) in Tuscany (Piancastagnaio, Siena, Italy). In the last two years I worked on these projects:  “Contemplations and Lacer/actions” (album, videoclip, installations, inspired by Thomas of Bergamo Scripts, 1563-1631), “Atelier of Colors and Emotions” (a project which involved autistic kids), “Lacer/actions on Aluminium” (11 installations for Fai Private Collection, Italy). My works are part of Contemporary Art Collection (Mercatello sul Metauro, Marche, Italy) and participating to “An Exhibition, a Restoration” in Norcia (Umbria, Italy) from July 12 to September 7, 2014.

My recent “The Ghost Bus” project was carried out with Bartons Plc and Act Group, Beeston, Nottingham, UK (January-March 2015) with a great short films premiere on March 27, at Bartons Plc, Chilwell-Nottingham. My next solo show (“Colors of an Apocalypse 2015″) is sheduled on Lake Como, Lenno, Italy, on July 3-4-5, 2015, in a special and spectacular location: the St. John Baptistery (XI Century), a beautiful example of Romanesque art.