IN THE ANCIENT TEMPLAR CASTLE OF PESCOLANCIANO (ITALY) THE LAUNCH OF THE NEW EDITION OF MY BOOK DEDICATED TO ALESSANDRO,MARTYR AND SOLDIER

 

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF D’ALESSANDRO FAMILY, PESCOLANCIANO (ITALY)

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The tremendous earthquake has only touched upon this charming corner of Italy, Pescolanciano, home to one of the most beautiful castles in central Italy. Tomorrow, Saturday, I’ll be there, to present the new edition of my book dedicated to Alexander, martyr and soldier and to talk about art, history, culture and architecture, launching a message of solidarity to the nearby populations affected by the fury of the earthquake.

Alexander and its iconography of martyr and soldier inspired so many artists and fascinated the same ancient Knights Templar of D’Alessandro noble family in Pescolanciano (Molise, Italy) where there is a great and ancient castle which will be the enchanting setting of the book presentation (Saturday August 27, 2016, 4pm).    

ABOUT THE ANCIENT D’ALESSANDRO CASTLE IN PESCOLANCIANO

The castle of Pescolanciano is located in a strategic position for control of the Castel di Sangro-Lucera sheep-track. The small church belongs to the original nucleus. In 1656 the place of worship was moved inside the castle to house the relics of Saint Alexander, transferred here from the Roman catacombs. The name Pescolanciano originates from the old designation Pesclum Lanzanum (Pesclum means rock whileLanzanum originates from Lanz, the name of the owner of the lands). In the reign of William II the feud was held by Berardo de Calvellis, mentioned in the Catalogus Baronum. With Frederick II (Diruenda castrorum) the castle shared the fate of many other Molisian fortresses. Later it passed into the hands of the Carafa family, the Spinelli family and the Eboli family of Naples until (1576) it was sold to Rita Baldassarre, wife of Giovan Francesco d’Alessandro. The castle underwent several modifications, especially in 1600 when the entrance was moved to the esplanade that leads to the drawbridge, and then again after the 1805 earthquake.
The castle perches on top of a rocky spur and can be accessed through a drawbridge (1691). A great variety of masonry styles are noticeable, with bonds that bear witness to a large number of modifications and repairs. The floor plan is trapezoid. The bulk of the four-sided keep and numerous traces of functional installations (cisterns, chimneys, niches and storerooms, cellars) as well as defensive ones (chemin-de-ronde transformed into a panoramic terrace, arrow slits and murder holes, cannon ports) are still recognisable.

MY BOOK AND THE WONDERFUL ICONOGRAPHY ABOUT ALEXANDER

S.ALESSANDRO copertinaA rich selection of works demonstrates how the arts over the centuries have bestowed a singular and striking homage to Alexander, the patron saint of Bergamo, an enchanting and ancient city near Milan (North of Italy). The artists list includes great names as sculptur Giovanni Ugo da Campione ( XIV century), Vincenzo Foppa (1430-1516 ), Lorenzo Lotto ( 1480-1556 ), Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520 / 24-1578 ), Giacomo Palma il Giovane ( c. 1548-1628 ), Antonio Boselli ( c. 1475 – c. 1530), Enea Salmeggia ( 1550-1626 ), Giovanni Paolo Cavagna (1556-1627 ), Carlo Ceresa ( 1607-1687 ), Francesco Coghetti (1802 -1875 ). These artists told through image an extraordinary story which corresponds to the content of “Passiones” documents and to the imaginative projection of the people as an expression of a simple and genuine faith .

The iconography always presents Alexander with its  military uniform – the armor symbolizes virtues such as courage and strength – and the lilies banner which expresses his role of flag-bearer and leader; lily flower is at the same time synonym for purity,  transparency of mind and appointment, in the biblical sense of the term . The extensive series of frescoes , sculptures , paintings, tables, miniatures, mosaics, stained glass, embroidery, frontals, stucco and silvers illustrates and honors the reputation of Alexander , exalting his courage, the spiritual power of those who fought ” the good fight “, to the ultimate sacrifice. 

 ABOUT ALEXANDER

Alexander (died c. 298-303) is the patron saint of Bergamo. He may simply have been a Roman soldier who was tortured and killed for not renouncing his Christian faith. As I write in the book, subsequent Christian stories (the so-called “Passiones”) consider him a flag-bearer of the Theban Legion commanded by Saint Maurice.

Prior to the commencement of the Diocletian in 303, both Galerius and Maximian in the West inaugurated, on their own responsibility, a crusade against Christianity and sought particularly to remove all Christians from the armies. St. Alexander was one of the victims of this persecution. He is reputed to have been a survivor of the decimation (the killing of every tenth man) ordered against the Theban Legion. He escaped to Milan.

At Milan, he was recognized and imprisoned, and it was demanded that he renounce his Christian faith. However, he was visited in jail by Saint Fidelis and Bishop Saint Maternus. Fidelis managed to organize Alexander’s escape. Alexander fled to Como but was captured again.

Brought back to Milan, he was once more condemned to death by decapitation, but during the execution the executioner’s arms went stiff. He was imprisoned again, but Alexander once again managed to escape, and ended up in Bergamo after passing through Fara Gera d’Adda and Capriate San Gervasio. Alexander was once again captured and was finally decapitated on August 26, (298 or 303) on the spot now occupied by the church of San Alessandro in Colonna. Bergamo Cathedral is dedicated to him and dates from the 4th century, and he is one of the saints in the dedication of the church in Rome for natives of Bergamo.

MY NEW BOOK IS OUT! A GESTURE OF MERCY THAT HAS BECOME “LEGENDARIO”… A SCRIPT FROM THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY REVEALS A WONDERFUL STORY

My new book has just been published! It’s in Italian language, and you can download the press release at this address …

https://www.academia.edu/27463038/GRATA_UN_GESTO_DI_PIETA_DIVENUTO_LEGENDARIO_

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Published by Editrice Velar, it tells about an act of mercy, performed by Grata for St. Alexander, the noble Theban knight, patron of the city of Bergamo. I found this fascinating story in a wonderful treasure of art: a script of the Thirteenth Century, composed by Pinamonte da Brembate. Art, history, literature and culture come together in an extraordinary document that lives on today thanks to this publication.

In this photo gallery some exclusive pictures of the charming “Legendario di S. Grata”.

 

 

BEHIND THE SCENES OF A GREAT PUBLISHING WORK… TOMORROW THE PRESENTATION OF THE NEW EDITION AT “MARTINBOOK FESTIVAL” IN MARTINSICURO (ITALY)

 

Tomorrow at “MartinBook Festival” in Martinsicuro, a beautiful city in Abruzzo (Italy) there will be the presentation of the new updated edition of my book “Francesco”, the first historical and illustrated biography about Pope Francis… “MartinBook Festival” is at its 7th edition and it is promoted by Associazione MartinBook and the City Council. The event will take place in the ancient Tower Charles V.

Watch the video about the “behind the scenes” of this incredible publishing work that involved around 30 professional people. A great team for a great book: 380 pages, 450 photos, large size (cms 23 x 29,5) available in a special set of 3 volumes in an elegant slipcase.

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Domani a “MartinBook Festival” di Martinsicuro, TE, Martinbook associazione culturale (ore 21,15, Torre Carlo V) presentazione della nuova edizione aggiornata di “Francesco”, la prima grande biografia storica illustrata su Papa Bergoglio, autore Roberto Alborghetti , Editrice Velar . L’evento è promosso dall’Associazione MartinBook Festival e dal Comune di Martinsicuro ed avrà luogo alle ore 21,15 presso l’antica Torre Carlo V.

Guarda il videoclip sul “dietro le quinte” di una opera editoriale unica nel suo genere, che ha coinvolto circa trenta professionisti…

 

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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SCENES FROM A CHINESE SHADOWS PLAY? NO, THEY’RE JUST MAGNIFICATIONS OF SCRATCHES ON A WASTEBIN IN BEESTON NOTTINGHAM (UK)…  

 

 

The pictures featured in this photo-gallery aren’t paintings (oils, acrylics, watercolors or digital works), but just natural, random and not manipulated images of the amazing imperfection of the real world we see around us. I saw these scratches on a wastebin during my recent visit in Beeston, Nottingham (UK), the land of Robin Hood. They remind me sceneries from a Chinese Shadows play… R.A.      

 

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Roberto Alborghetti “LaceR/Actions” is a multidisciplinary project and research about the apparent chaos of torn and decomposed outdoor advertisings, natural cracks, scratches and urban/industrial tokens. 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, as you may see in this photo-gallery showing some works from the collection of about 50.000 images captured so far by Roberto Alborghetti during his research all around the world.

A Roberto Alborghetti Show (“Colors of an Apocalypse”) was displaced for 100 days in the enchanting Aldobrandesca Fortress (XIII Century) in Tuscany (Piancastagnaio, Siena, Italy) from October 6, 2012, to January 15, 2013. His recent 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, 2013 and 2014 ), “Lacer/actions on Aluminium” (11 installations for Fai Private Collection, Italy). Roberto Alborghetti 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.

EXTRAORDINARY DAY: I MET POPE FRANCIS FOR THE PRESENTATION OF THE HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY I WROTE ABOUT HIM. IMAGES TALK BETTER THAN WORDS…

READ MORE ABOUT “FRANCIS”, THE FIRST ILLUSTRATED AND HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY ABOUT JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO, AUTHOR ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI, VELAR-ELLEDICI PUBLISHING:

https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/pope-francis-person-of-the-year-my-new-book-tells-his-extraordinary-life-2-volumes-unpublished-stories-340-photos/

PREVIEW: THE GREATEST BRITISH DISHES REIVENTED BY HESTON BLUMENTHAL. WATCH THE INCREDIBLE TRAILER WITH ANIMATED ARTWORK BY DAVE MCKEAN

 

 

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Bloomsbury Publishing releases an animated book trailer that brings to life the marvel of Heston Blumenthal’s new book Historic Heston which will be published 10th October 2013 (£125). The Trailer will be released via Bloomsbury’s UK, Australia and US offices simultaneously. http://youtu.be/sIzQ-cjep5I

As the Big Fat Duck Cookbook brought together Heston’s unique story and creative journey behind the dishes at his three Michelin starred The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Historic Heston will reveal for the first time his years of research into Britain’s historic gastronomic past that resulted in iconic dishes such as Meat Fruit that can be found on the menu at his restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal which is ranked 7th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Historic Heston charts a quest for identity through the best of British cooking that stretches from medieval to late-Victorian recipes.

“This animation really brings the whole energy of the book to life.  It’s such a multiple layered book with photography reminiscent of oil on canvas old masters, sitting alongside state of the art modern imagery with Dave’s incredible illustrations weaving the whole story together. There is such an enormous amount of work and research in this book but it has been written in a very accessible way and this animation creates an exciting dynamic that really captures the energy of our work. It was great to work with such incredibly talented people and on a topic I am so consumed by and proud of, our British gastronomic heritage.” Heston Blumenthal

“I always thought this was going to be a magical book, and here’s the proof! This trailer accurately recreates the delirious ride your mind and taste buds will take into Heston’s imagination and culinary lateral thinking. Oh, and it’s got some of my pictures in it as well. I loved illustrating this book. Heston’s world is poised beautifully between the historical research and technical rigor of his cooking, and the vaulting imagination and sheer fun of his personality. That makes for a thoroughly creative space to play.” Dave McKean

The makers of the trailer: Pete&Tom are a London-based motion graphics studio creating bold and arresting content underpinned by a love of storytelling. Their previous work includes TV rebrands for Film4, 4Music and Discovery History, animated commercials for Orange/4Music and a number of title sequence packages for popular TV programmes.

Heston Blumenthal is entirely self-taught, and is the most progressive chef of his generation. In 2004 he won the coveted three Michelin stars in near-record time for his restaurant The Fat Duck. It has repeatedly been voted into the top ten of the World’s Best Restaurants by an international panel of 800 experts, as has his second restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen for his services to British Gastronomy.

Dave McKean has illustrated and designed over 50 books by Heston Blumenthal, John Cale, Stephen King, Richard Dawkins, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman amongst others. He has directed several short films and three features and has exhibited on three continents.

historic heston