Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Article on Altare excavations finally comes out
After a few years spent, one assumes, mumbling, Bagnasco finally came out with a preliminary paper on Altare's first ever archeological excavations. Archeometric measurements are yet to be seen. Perhaps in a few years from now?
Friday, February 11, 2022
A new book
I just published a new book, "La lingua ancestrale" that was reviewed by the Italian daily "Il Secolo XIX" :
The ancestral language is the language of our ancestors. The vocabulary of glassmakers, which will be dealt with extensively in this essay, is a collection of terms of a specific profession that contribute to complete, the vocabularies of the Ligurian and Piedmontese regional languages, in a time in which they are dying out under the influence of dominant Italian language.
Dante Alighieri, in De Vulgari Eloquentia, noted the rapidity with which languages evolve and become difficult to interpret for subsequent generations. Certainly in the first centuries of the Late Middle Ages, the dialect that we propose here was different and the glassmakers of the time would hardly recognize it.
There are no written sources of the local speech prior to 1972 when the grammar of the Altarese dialect of Prof. Silvio Sguerso was published; in 1990 the treatise by Pietro Cadelli and Luigi Vallebona concentrated interest on the vowel system of the Altare dialect; in 1993 the Lexicon of the Glassmaker by the master Gino Bormioli found a wide consensus. An essay of mine, entitled Er parlè di vedrei ed L’Atè - written in collaboration with my son, Giacomo Badano - was published in February 2018 in "Acts and Memories" of the Savona Society of Homeland History.
The subject treated here belongs to a period that spans more than eight centuries
A small group of artisans, who came from various parts of Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, to the Monferrato village and L'Atè (Altare), renewing the activity through the generations, had produced considerable numbers of glass artifacts and had them traded in Italy and in foreign countries.
Emigrating, the glassmakers had then spread techniques and art in Europe, with the encouragement of the rulers, who appreciated this craft, already a form of early industry.
Nothing particular if you think that from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the Baroque era, Italy was a master of the arts. In the seventeenth century, Italian architects had important roles in the construction of cathedrals in Europe, in Germany as in St.Petersburg. In Moscow in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Italian architects were present, while the Winter Palace of the Hermitage architectural complex was designed in the Baroque style, in 1716, by an Italian, whose name has fortunately remained known, Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
When the secrets of Murano and Altare glass were revealed across the old continent and from Bohemia a new glass type, calcium-potassium, imitating rock crystal in its brilliance and thickness, the composition of glass became mainstream. Strong competition arose, and some Altare glassmakers took their knowledge overseas. They went to Latin America, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, where glass processing was still little known. From the nineteenth century onwards, they founded glassworks, faithful to their "à la façon d’Altare" style.
The art of many skilled and industrious men, whose names constantly occur in notarial documents, is still present in the Altare Glass Museum, which preserves jewels from the ancient scientific, artistic and everyday glassware, but also elegant specimens of Italic-Argentine art of the late twentieth century, with a visible tendency to Bohemian imitation.
In the garden of the Museum, glass work by Murano, French, Spanish and Argentine glass masters still takes place in a small oven.
Some of the ancient work tools used in the furnace are kept in the museum's warehouses. They will be presented, in full of this brief excursus, with a caption that briefly illustrates their functionality. These are tools that are part of the furnace equipment, or more frequently owned by the craftsman, who, having reached the end of his activity, re-appropriates them.
The tools of the glass workers have been the same since the Middle Ages, but, while the names that we find in the ancient account registers and in the Archives are generally in vulgar Latin, in the present lemmary they are listed in the spoken dialect and described both in the vernacular and in the Italian standard language. In the standard Italian version, the description is extended by some details.
In my travels in Europe, I found work tools similar to ours, similar glass in vaguely different styles. Visiting a variety of museums also allowed me to get to know the tools used by the Romans and here I would like to recall a city from the time of the Emperor Claudius, close to Hadrian's Wall, with large granaries, aqueducts, roads, sewers: Corbridge (in Latin Corstopitum). I was with my son there and we stubled upon it almost by chance heading north, because the goal had been a visit to Newcastle, where Altare glassmakers had worked.
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