Did you know that the reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci “Last Supper” in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, where Michael Jackson is buried, was made by Moretti Caselli studio in Perugia? Let’s discover this huge heritage of culture and art!
Perugia. An ancient fifteenth-century building that belonged to the noble Baglioni family during the Renaissance, miraculously still there and not destroyed to make room for the Rocca Paolina: this is where the Moretti Caselli Studio has its suggestive headquarters.
Smell of dust and ancient stuff, in the penumbra of a rarefied atmosphere, let’s leave for a journey back in time.
Shelves filled with a thousand small ampoules covered with dust are filled with an infinite number of shades of color, jealous keepers of what remains of the precious and now unobtainable oxides, essential for the realization of the pigments, prepared on the basis of medieval recipes.
The studio was born in 1859, thanks to Francesco Moretti, who started his business in Todi, where he realized, among other things, the windows of the Duomo in the main place.
Alongside the long theories of bottles an ancient oven for the production of the “fondente”, the element which, mixed with the pigments, made it possible to paint the glass and, once cooked, to become indelible. This process is now totally disused, both because of the dangerousness of the substances used and because the recipes of the time are almost incomprehensible and irreproducible.
Also on display are a series of ancient cameras, used to portray posing models.
The main room, very suggestive, houses, among other things, a portion of stained glass window depicting the face of Jesus, made in 1925 by Rosa and Cecilia, Maddalena’s aunts, who collected and handed down the production witness.
It is a version, damaged already during the cooking phase, of the face of the Christ of Leonardo’s Last Supper, of exquisite workmanship and a unique poem. The entire scene, reproduced on a 40 square meter window, is located in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn, Glendale in Los Angeles. The very risky transport of the large and fragile backgrounds of the window was made, at the time, by ship, and the pieces were assembled once at their destination. Rosa and Cecilia never saw their work installed.
But another breathtaking masterpiece waits in the following room: the proof that the windows can reach excellent artistic levels, and that that the painting on glass cannot be absolutely considered a minor art. This is the intention that animated the genius of Francesco Moretti.
A year of work for a unique piece that borders on virtuosity and which seems to be a challenge towards itself and the limits of the technique.
The subject is Queen Margherita of Savoy, portrayed full-length, in an iridescent blue silk dress and lace, adorned with tiaras and jewels, in a living room full of brocades and rugs. Every detail is carefully reproduced: the softness of the carpet and the rustle of silk, the delicacy of the complexion of the sovereign and the sparkle of the diadem.
Despite the ethereal sensation and the objective fragility of the work, the stained glass window is held together by lead and irons, which blend in with the design, following its progress; irons that allow the structural seal of the work.
The Queen saw the window and congratulated Moretti a lot, she liked it so much that she wanted to buy it, even if the deal never went through.
Next to the Queen, a Coronation of the Virgin, reproduction of a detail of an altarpiece by Perugino.
A huge legacy, still alive thanks to the work of tenacious women. From Rosa and Cecilia, up to her granddaughter Maddalena, the enthusiasm and attachment to such a treasure does not diminish despite the extreme effort, not only physical, that a job like this entails.
Find Moretti Caselli Studio on Google Maps: