|UMBRIA - Perugia|
|FILE : Studio Moretti Caselli 0|
The Morettis and Casellis and their works
Progenitor of the family, Francesco Moretti was Silvestro Valeri’s pupil at the Academy of Perugia. He started his activity in Perugia working with the master at the pictorial decoration of Todi’s Cathedral. He soon made friends with the count Giuseppe Francisci, a scholar of the stained glass ancient technique. Then, he carried out several researches together with the painter Eliseo Fattorini, recovering the secrets of the Medieval stained glass art, so becoming one of the outstanding exponents of the Italian Gothic Revival.
That research made the artist gain two important assignments: the restoration of the large apse window with Stories f St. James’ life at St. Domenic church in Perugia (1861-18799) - window whose numerous scattered fragments had been put in bulk into cases – and the window The preach of St. Bernardine, in the Perugia Cathedral (1863).
Those two long restoration works were the start of the ‘Studio Moretti’ intensive activity together which his brother Tito initially collaborated with.
Beside the restoration work there was also their creative activity. Numerous were the windows produced in those years: the Pietà by Tito Moretti for the cathedral (1874); two windows for the parish church in Arezzo: a St. Donato (1875) and a St. John the Baptist (1879).
Francesco Moretti’s great skill at painting on the glass is particularly clear in the large Portrait of the Queen Margaret of Savoy (1881) whose pictorial results go over the soft tones of the oil painting.
Tito’s collaboration with his brother finished in 1873 and the nephew Ludovico Caselli joined the Studio.
The workshop was moved to the ancient Baglioni Palace – restored by Moretti in neo-gothic style - in 1895, which was decisive for the ‘Studio Moretti-Caselli’ activity. Since then, the palace has been the family’s workshop and residence, keeping still today its prime structure and medieval look.
The apsidal window at Orvieto’s cathedral by Moretti (1896-1905) are also to be dated to those years. It is the highest point in the methodology of the XIX century restorations, as Moretti introduced for the first time in the restoration of a stained glass window, the scientific criteria of signing with letter M each tessera replaced. The methodological choice of Historic restoration, that is, to observe the authenticity of the window, overcame the at that time current Romantic restoration , where the glass tesserae of completion had to be camouflaged as far as possible.
In that same period (1889 – 1905) the ‘Studio Moretti – Caselli’ carried out the demanding cycle of the windows for the Loreto Basilica: the eight windows of both the apse and the dome and the four of the side chapels; they also laid out nine windows for the Duomo of Orvieto.
When Francesco Moretti died (1917), Ludovico Caselli went on with his uncle’s activity restoring some windows of the Marcillat: Lazarus risen from the dead, at Arezzo’s cathedral; The wedding of the Virgin, The Assumption at SS. Annunziata church in Arezzo and the roundel The Madonna of Mercy at the S. Maria del Calcinaio church in Cortona.
Besides, he executed the large roundel The martyrdom of St. Laurence for the Duomo of Perugia in 1919.
After the death of Ludovico Caselli (1922), his daughters Rosa e Cecilia continued the family activity restoring the two apse windows of St. Francis Upper Basilica, and remaking the three apsidal windows of the Lower Basilica (1918 –28). In the same years (1925 - 31), the two sisters were also working at numerous windows for the nearby St. Clare Basilica.
Rosa e Cecilia Caselli produced a full-size copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper with extreme pictorial refinement for the " Forest Lawn Memorial Park" at Glendale in California ; The cartoons of that imposing window are still kept in the Studio Moretti Caselli.
"Studio Vetrate artistiche Moretti Caselli"
In the historic centre of Perugia, on the slope that overlooks the unequalled panorama of the low town, stands the ancient Baglioni Palace, leaning against the Rocca Paolina.
Already mansion of the Lords of Perugia, became then the residence of the Moretti Caselli family, artists, painters and stained glass windows restorers. Now it is Anna Falsettini Forenza’s workshop.
The workshop has been maintained the same of the XIX century, where the stained glass windows of Arezzo’s cathedral and Loreto Basilica were produced.
The wood-burning furnace is still the ancient one, with no thermometers and thermostats; a fornace where the skill and experience of medieval master glaziers is required, artists that well knew the heating process and times of both the glass tesserae and the grisaille .
On the old shelves, the vases containing the craft-made colours that the Morettis have kept using for one hundred years. In the various rooms of the workshop a remarkable collection of plasters used as models is displayed together with numerous sketches and watercolours of the windows executed by Francesco Moretti, Ludovico Caselli and his daughters Rosa and Cecilia.
In the archive of the Studio there are also the cartoons of the restored windows ( 1:1 size), among which, the ones of the apse window at Orvieto’s, the Mercillat windows, the apse windows of St. Domenic church in Perugia. To the Studio belongs also photographic files with XIX century pictures; a specialized library and a collection of ancient lace-like patterns used to sandblast the damascenings in the glass .
The sandblast machine made by Ludovico Caselli has been recently donated to Perugia’s town hall, destined to a museum.
Matilde Falsettini Forenza, heir and depositary of the Studio Moretti Caselli ‘s art secrets, with her work she keeps alive the craft-made techniques and secrets of her family passed down from generation to generation for over one hundred years.
Assisting the work at the Moretti Caselli’s workshop it’s a unique experience, running through again the medieval technique steps of making the stained glass windows, recovered by Moretti about 1859. An experience that allows the scholar of art history, either specialist of the stained glass windows or not, to learn the method and the stylistic valences of the master glaziers belonging to the Italian Gothic Revival .
The Studio is open to visits on request.