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Dante O Benini Collection

It's impossible to talk about Venetian plasters ("Stucchi Veneziani") without mentioning their origins with the person who was probably the greatest Italian architect of the 1950's, Carlo Scarpa. When referencing "plasters and paints" one also cannot leave out another person who, with Carlo Scarpa, traversed "the artistic world of matter" transferred onto walls, the Venetian Eugenio De Luigi. In the early 1970's, their research was carried on by Dante O. Benini, a disciple of Scarpa, and by Bruno Sartori, a disciple of De Luigi. A fascinating and unique path that today is taken by "Italian Masters" with Michael Gloria Chiarelli, who wishes to make this second generation-old tradition of matter available again to the American public for the benefit of American culture.

The Dante O. Benini and Partners collection, performed by Bruno Sartori, is a selection of the most beautiful "plasters and paints" that take you back to the 1950's, when research on architecture and matter was able to create new emotions, which are still unsurpassed today. We should remember that the term "arredamento" (furniture) originates from Gothic "ga – redàm", which means "to take care" or "to adorn", therefore to look after beauty, something that is innate in humankind from its very origin.

In 1956, polished plaster was introduced by Eugenio De Luigi, with whom Carlo Scarpa had started an intense artistic and professional collaboration turning into a fraternal friendship over time. The continuous experimentations by Scarpa and De Luigi produced Scarpa's poetics of surface and material finishing. These surfaces are extraordinary in terms of smoothness and polish and are comparable to silk. They show the skill developed with one's own work resulting in a fitting combination of craft skill, architecture and art, between which the boundary of the these elements dissolves.

With polished or spatula-finished plaster also referred to as Venetian plaster, "you hot melt the glue, add linseed oil, and dissolve the base plaster ("gesso di Bologna", calcium sulphate). Natural earth colors are added to this mixture until the desired color is obtained. The mixture is then sifted and allowed to cool. One single mixture is prepared for all the surfaces to be treated creating a uniform color. Several coats are applied on the surface with each coat being sanded before applying the next. In order to obtain the polished spatula-finish, several crossed coats of plaster are applied. The last coat must be applied with an at least an 8 cm iron spatula, pressing the mixture until the desired polish is obtained. This technique does not require the use of wax. The shine is obtained through the hand worked burnishing of the mixture applied on the surface. This also determines the malleability and transparency of the coat.