Description by the artist
Holy water font (Acquasantiera in Italian) for collection on marine wood picked up in Mondello. I don’t know how and when my passion and the discovery of cuttlebone chiseling was born, a bit like Michelangelo said that: “The work of art is already inside the block of marble. The work consists only in removing the excess, to make it emerge. You don’t have to add anything, you just have to know how to remove.” I started with a simple nail file, now I use diamond tip files. My subjects are faces, fish and glimpses of Sicily, the cocci d’amuri (Sicilian for glimpses of love). They can be used to embellish environments of various kinds. The calcium carbonate of which they are made of, makes them fragile and light, so their processing is particularly delicate and meticulous. Exploiting the characteristic form lanceolata, I succeed in realizing forms and different subjects, spacing from the white of the stuccoes of the Serpotta, to the bright colors of our Sicily.
The artwork in the Sicilian culture
The Acquasantiera (holy water font) is a sacramental that, until the first half of the last century, could be found in every Sicilian house. It contained water which had been blessed by the priest and had the purpose of protecting the family and the house of the Sicilians from the Evil one. The holy water fonts were placed in the wall next to the bed, in the evening the believers recited their prayers and then made the sign of the cross by wetting their finger in the holy water, which is pure, water. Today holy water fonts are furnishing objects of many Sicilian houses and they are usually placed one next to the other, on a wall, as to form a multicoloured picture.
Giacomo Serpotta was a talented Sicilian plasterer of the 17th century whose stupendous works can be admired in several churches and museums in Sicily.
(photo) Palermo, Archbishop’s palace in the background, Cathedral on the right. People and temporary structures for the public execution of heretics, paper ink, 1724, Francesco Ciche