On occasion of the 25th edition of Artigianato e Palazzo, as guest of honour Giusto Manetti Battiloro presents the wonder of gold, the talent of artisans who transform it and the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, on the five hundredth anniversary of his death this year.
The great polymath was the first to attempt the mechanisation of this noble and ancient trade which was already extensively documented in Ancient Egypt as well as in Greek-Roman civilisations. It importance culminated in Renaissance Florence.
Leonardo did not remain indifferent to the fascinating process of transforming gold into leaf. Intent on improving the working conditions of artisans and bolstering the productivity of workshops, he designed a machine capable of significantly reducing the thickness of this precious metal (from 500 to 30 microns).
Based on the drawings of the Atlantic Code, the Manetti family, who has held the reputation of Florence and its artisans high over fifteen generations, wanted to pay tribute to the Master’s intuition, by reconstructing his famous machine. A masterpiece of mechanical engineering, designed for the production of embossed sheets used for gold leaf as well as for the production medals, coins and brocades.
In addition to celebrating the genius of Leonardo, the exhibition, sponsored by the National Committee for the Celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo, aims to unveil the secrets and marvels of a trade which has been producing an alluring and conquering beauty for thousands of years now. Therefore it will be possible to gain an overview of the complex production process which over ten hours transforms gold (melted at over 1000 degrees) by progressively thinning it out until it becomes as light as a feather. Visitors will see the best artisans using gold leaf to gild wood and stuccoes, architectonic elements and furnishings and have the chance to marvel at the skilled hands of Simone Beneforti, who will recreate Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, entirely in gold.
At Artigianato e Palazzo, Giusto Manetti Battiloro gold will also reign supreme in the kitchen. Each day at 6 pm, the chefs of Desinare will prepare ancient family recipes of Russian tradition, using Gold Chef edible gold, served on a Richard Ginori plate made especially for the occasion from Manetti gold leaf.
Our gold leaf will also be showcased in creations by the Florentine artist Simafram. Sales will contribute towards the funding of important historic-artistic artefacts linked to eminent Russian families who lived in Florence. As part of this Project, Giusto Manetti Battiloro participated in the restoration of the magnificent Russian church of Florence, supplying the gold used for the gilding of gates, domes and decorative elements.