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  • Pietro Montini: A Tribute September 10, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern , trackback

    First, sincere apologies for not yet getting the comments up this month. Beach has written about 30,000 words on fairies and is still getting over it. Sunday night is his self-imposed deadline and then he’s going to forget the red-capped ones ever existed and think about making our young into better citizens (ahem). Today though by way of interlude he wanted to share the work of an obscure talent, Pietro Montini, obit 1919.

    PM was born in 1846 in the little village of Santa Brigida in the Tuscan hills. He was a nano, a ‘dwarf’ and also hunchbacked and coming from a poor background he never learnt to read or write. Apparently he never left Santa Brigida, but lived there as the sacristan, which may not have been much fun.

    PM had, however, a pulsating mind and, in his spare time, played at art and had too (so his gravestone claims) a fascination with lenses. Imagine what William Blake would have done if he had been born in Italy in the mid nineteenth-century without an education but with serious health issues and you start to get the picture.

    Beachcombing has regrettably not been able to find any of his painting or bronze work – sigh – but his stone sculptures are piled up all over the village, which lies about an hour from Florence. They are, for the most part, over a century old and many have been damaged by the elements, so Beach thought that as a contribution to PM’s memory he would document them before it is too late. In a few cases it already is…

    Beach has posted here five that confuse him or that might confuse others. For example, what is the gentlemen at the head of this post: he has a sword, sheaved on his side? ‘A Turk’? A Pacific Islander? Pietro himself in pantomime outfit?

    PM borrowed his style from medieval art that he found in his community and the churches round about: though look out for the odd telescope that jarringly creeps in. Indeed, in a couple of instances Beach was not sure if he was looking at the work of a medieval sculptor or PM’s work. In some instances he’s still not sure.

    PM’s creations are fabulous things and this is likely the only immortality they will ever know… so enjoy and spread the word, crediting Pietro where possible. They are high resolution: you can click, save and photoshop to your heart’s content.

    I salute thee, Brigidino,
    I that loved thee since my day began,
    Wielder of the stateliest measure
    Ever moulded by the hands of man.

    Thanks to Sami L-H for the outstanding photos. All explanations or guesses: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    Is this a monk? A hood and a chalice? At first Beach hoped for a fairy… (it’s been an obsession this past month: he is not to blame).

    What animal is this?

    Is this a journey to St Peter’s? Notice the ‘medieval’ trains and the vision of Christ (?).

    What inspired this? Almonds?

    Note the telescope in what appears, at first glance, a twelfth-century sculpture?



    10 Sept 2011: Many of you wrote in about the last picture pointing out the obvious flaw in Beach’s description. Here is Mark L: ‘I had an idea looking at the Pietro Montini sculpture of a man with telescope in which you seem to see the subject sitting on a child’s head (despite there being no evidence of a head anywhere in sight.) This though initiates a number of rather ugly and bizarre pictures in one’s imagination as to where that head might be. This appears to me more likely to be a crude ‘lambda’-legged bench topped with a pillow a bit larger than the bench-top’s width.  It lops over the bench-top edge in back and in front and may give the viewer the impression of a child’s shoulders and arms (then again, where are the hands?) If this is some insomniac proto-astronomer examining the heavens at night in a cold tower (and if so, why is the telescope aimed lower than the horizon?) he might well bring along a soft cushion for the bench on which he intends to seat himself, there to spend the long marches of the night.’ Thanks Mark and apologies Pietro!