Bertrand Russell said that ‘Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.’ Having had all three over the weekend I felt unbelievably flat to return to only one of the triplet. Spring in both countries, though technically arrived, seems far off and immensely rainy but a visit to Italy, in the spring to dance (my first love) was completed by a visit mid weekend to Raffael Romanelli’s Studio, Galleria Romanelli and really, what is a visit to Italy without art.
Raffa’s girlfriend Alyssa greets us at the door of the enormous studio, small on first entering but opening up to theatrically high ceilings and squashed full of various casts that litter the room, John Soane would be in utter heaven. ‘My grandfather was apprenticed to Lorenzo Bartolini, when he died he left the studio to my grandfather. Since then we have been sculptors’ smiles Raffa, dapper and friendly, a member of the newest generation of this Romanelli dynasty. You can see why anyone would become a sculptor with such a space, and an immensely successful studio it is too. In the back of the studio a man works, oblivious to the large amount of Scots wandering round admiring things, carefully sculpting the curves of a female form.
Though a success there have been disasters. At one point the entire studio was flooded by the Arno, so high you can still see the flood line if you look closely at the casts. ‘Plaster will survive a couple of hours, thank god it went down quickly’ grimaces Raffa as he points at his favourite image, an angel kissing a man in the far corner. Alyssa, apparently, arrived for a month to study with Charles Cecil and never left and its easy to see why.
The water mark, still visible on the bicep and wings of the angel.
Sculpture courses are available at Stuio Galleria Romanelli on enquiry
Studio Galleria Romanelli Borgo San Frediano 70
+39 055 2396047
Written by Beatrice Hasell-McCosh
Editorial Assistant at Arteviste.com