I is for Intarsia
Intarsia an art form I saw in Italy and found in many shops in Sorrento. I did not really understand the depth of skill required to achieve the intricate designs and ‘scenes’ that are created by these talented artists.
Very simply intarsia is creating a design or picture from many small pieces of different colored wood. This is far too simplistic to describe the incredible skill that is required to design, cut and fit hundreds (if not more ) pieces of different woods into one complex and beautiful finished project.
But this story is about Mr. Rocco. I have lived in Sorrento before so an opportunity in December to return and do several interviews was very appealing. The light fades quickly in December and without the tourist crowds in the streets, Sorrento was very quiet when I passed Mr. Rocco’s studio. His door was open and I paused to admire the inedible table top he was working on. (see photo above)
I am sure I was interrupting him but asked ‘permesso’ from the doorway and he gestured for me to enter the crowded studio.
We began a lengthy conversation and as everyone knows, I do not speak Italian above the level of a 5 year old but I do understand a great deal if the speaker uses simple terms.
Nevertheless, it was explained to me that the artist creates the design and that templates are made, colors (of wood) selected, pieces cut and fitted together. I believe he told me this would take 3 months to complete, it I am correct.
Before I left, so that Mr. Rocco could back to work he gave me a book that was published on his work. When I later took the time to view all the photographs, I understood that I had met one of the masters of this art. I had met Olga Stinga’s father years earlier. He is also an intarsia artist and his shop is filled with all types of pictures, plaques, boxes etc.