Tag Archives: craftsman

The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier

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I started reading this book a couple of years ago, but I stopped after one of the first scenes, when the daughter of the rich customer tried to make sex with the Painted under a table, just after having exchanged few words. But I began again to read it in these days because I am exploring through other books the art worlds: this novel is made up, but I know that Tracy Chevalier is an accurate history researcher in this branch.

Actually she clearly showed the links between the artists (in this case, a painter) and the craftsmen (in this case, the weaver, the Lissier who prepares the arras), but also between the customer (the rich bourgeois) and the merchant, and she explained the odd rules that bound the Bruxelles craftsmen that worked in the guilds.

What I understood from this novel is how the artist role was transparent in thos years (end of XV century) and far away from ours. Nicolas Des Innocents, the painter, is not so famous and he doesn’t consider his art as something miracolous or divine: it is just the way he earns money. He must obey the client and the merchant and the weavers do not consider him like a very important person, except for the fact that he comes from Paris.

I appreciated that the painter did not “compromise” the virtue of the customer’s daughter: it was more realistic that he went with prostitutes and the blind daughter of the weaver! As all those successions were made up by the writer, I like that they are not too exhagerated!

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Excellence patterns of Italian craftsmen in food branch

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The Italian title of this essay is “The alchemist craftsman“. This research tries to understand wich are the ingredients of excellence in the food branch of the North-East Italy, and the question arises because, despite the crisis and the pessimism, these realities have grown.

Well, when I say that an Italian artisan firm has grown, please do not look for a giant in the American way. I mean that such firms are going better than before, that they are developing on a turnover and innovation point of view.

It can seems strange to an American eye that a (often) family-based reality can get good results, but this is exactly what it happens. And still more curious, the dimensional growth is not always one of the purposes of these firms, because it could lead to a lower power of control on the final product.

This survey, made through interviews by the author (a sociologist) and his partners, can cancel a lot of preconceptions in your mind. For instance, you can believe that a family-based firm will have big problem during a generation passage and that the young people are forced to enter into relatives’ work because they have no other alternative. Or you can be convinced that you absolutely have to sell abroad, that artisans do no make any kind of marketing and that the hands are their first and unique production instrument.
Well, you will see that your ideas are not so reliable!

The study of these 20 firms shows that the issues are not due to size. Some problems can arise from the lack of an istitutional training, from a too closed credit system or from a very silly bureaucracy, and we hope that this book will give some starting-points to work on in the future.

In the meanwhile, if you want to give a look to author’s curriculum, you can see his Linkeding profile here.

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