MASTER OF SCAGLIOLA
Scagliola is the Italian name of the stone selenite, or more imaginatively called "stone of the moon". However scagliola is also the art of making inlays with a special mix of colored pigments, natural glues and selenite powder.
This noble and antique art, well known to the Romans, scagliola had its moment of glory first at Carpi in Emilia in the 17th century and then in Florence and Tuscany in the 18th century. It then spread througout Italy and the rest of Europe. The Englishman Enrico Hugford and Lamberto Cristiano Gori were the two great masters of Florentine scagliola and they perfected it from a "simple" craftsmanship to a real art in its own right. It fascinated in particular the Grand Duke of Tuscany and many other european courts.
From the middle of the 19th century, however this art fell into oblivion. If a passionate seeker had not been stubbornly determined to revive the art of "meschia", as it was once called, nowadays we would only have what remains from previous times..
Putting Florence back at the centre of a new Grand Tour for all art-lovers in search of something unique for their homes required the passion of an office worker/artist who loved painting and who dedicated ten years (at the end of the Forties) of his free time searching for the right formula for the scagliola mixes.
He then came to the attention of the son of the writer Giuseppe Prezzolini and Bianco Bianchi (1920 – 2006) become well known, first in the USA and then in Italy. Bianco left his job and devoted himself to scagliola full-time producing new works of his own and collecting and restoring period pieces (the Bianco Bianchi collection is the most important existing).
His children Alessandro and Elisabetta who inherited his passion, continue, with the help of a few skilled artisans, to produce masterpieces with the same antique technique. They work with decorators and architects creating interior decorations and a wide range of scagliola to insert in antique and modern interior design.
Unique pieces such as tables, panels and gift items that end up in some of the most beautiful houses in the world. An example is the scagliola table with the head of the Medusa, made by Bianchi for Versace's villa, which inspired the stylist when he was in search of a logo for his collections.