Earlier this month, artist Giuliano Negretto saw the inauguration of his latest work – a monument dedicated to the Alpine Infantry of Italy. The work was inaugurated during the Centenary celebrations of the Alpine unit in Vincenza, Italy.
The story behind the monument began in March 2020, when the National Alpine Association asked for submissions as part of a competition organized by the city of Vicenza. Giuliano participated in the competition, trying to submit a proposal for the city. His motivation was to create something which was innovative, yet representative of the town at the same time. The commission liked the idea, but also wanted to go a step further. They wanted the monument to go beyond the usual classic and banal patterns that were filled across Europe. Their vision looked for something modern, which could still remain decipherable and meaningful to the average person.
While he knew something about the Alpino people, hailing from the culture himself, Giuliano wanted to dive deeper into the world of Alpine regiments and the people associated with them. Giuliano imagined the congregation of people as a large feather – the raven feather which was an unmistakable symbol of the Alpine infantry. The monument was supposed to symbolize a place of solidarity for the Alpinos not just in the city, but everywhere in the world. Over the duration of the construction of the monument, Giuliano also addressed many other ideas and sentiments. He was aware of not just the impact the Alpine infantry had in the wars for Italy, but also the aid given by the larger Alpino community to the people in the decades that followed. This is why he wanted the monument to be global in its essence – dedicated to all the good Alpino people who have been helping others across the world. This is how The World was conceived – the centerpiece globe which is the primary feature of the monument. To symbolize the historical significance of the Alpine infantry, Giuliano went with a dome-shaped base made of steel, with water fountains bathing the monument from the top down – a symbol of vitality and continuity of the community that has endured for generations. However, the big question remained about connecting the feather with the globe without breaking off due to its weight. According to Giuliano, the solution came to him one night almost as a miraculous revelation. Thus, he devised the design of a steel band that would wrap around the feather as well as the globe. This would provide additional support to the structures, while also symbolizing the unison of the two motifs. The World is an irregular sphere of a diameter of 166 cm formed with steel plates of various shapes. The plates are welded together to be smooth and form a homogenous surface. The continents were created by dropping melted steel on top of the existing structure, thus contrasting with the oceans. The structure was then placed on the dome-shaped base and welded together. The large feather – with a rib that curves and ends towards the other – was then placed alongside the World. Finally, the steel band covered the entire structure and finished the monument.
About Giuliano Negretto
Giuliano Negretto was born in 1972 in Arzignano in the province of Vincenza, Italy. From an early age, he was involved with the metal business. At a young age, he worked as a sheet metal beater, later as a blacksmith in the fascinating and ancient wrought iron sector. Over the years, as he continued honing his skills at working with metal, Giuliano started experimenting with the material to craft something more creative. Since 2009, he had been formally creating artworks by working metal. Giuliano continues to reside in his hometown of Arzignano, while his workshop is at Montecchio Maggiore.
Giuliano Negretto is perhaps best known for inventing Calorismo – his own signature art style. The term was coined by the artist in 2019, though it was a result of many years of labor. “It is not color, but warmth,” says Giuliano while describing his style – and there is some truth in that. The style involves melting and color metal with the help of a blowtorch. The intense heat is responsible for giving the work its vibrant colors which form an important part of its appeal. Since the art is formed by turning cold steel into an artwork, it symbolizes the dynamic nature of his art.
Giuliano shares that his signature style is meant to evoke positive emotions like panache, liveliness, and warmth. The audience and owners of his works alike should feel a sense of curiosity toward the origins of his art. He confesses that like any artist, he too wishes to evoke emotions in people through his works. While discussing Calorismo, Giuliano Negretto also revealed the reason why developed the style. According to him, there is a great need to keep the dexterity and craftsmanship – which has been a staple of Italian culture for centuries – alive. He believes that today, much of the art has been digitalized where all you need is technical know-how to create art. This has reduced artistry into a simplistic process that could be learned by anybody without talent and imagination being any factor. The dedication and devotion involved in creating techniques that were once handed down through generations are slowly dying out. With Calorismo, Giuliano hopes to keep the tradition alive.
The Giant Lion of San Marco
Previously, Giuliano Negretto was in the news for his Great Lion of Marco, an impressive steel sculpture of a giant lion. The sculpture, 4-meter high, 6-meter long, and weighing 2500 kg, was perhaps the biggest of its kind in the world. The order came from an private client, who wanted a lion sculpture inspired by the culture of Venice. Thus, Giuliano created the winged lion, which was finished in 2021. You can know more about Giuliano Negretto by visiting his website or visiting his workshop in Montecchio Maggiore in Italy.