Artisan’s Shop

On our way to dinner in Cortona one evening the view through an open door arrested our progress.  On the wall inside hung beautifully elaborate wood-inlay pictures amidst stacks of picture-frame lumber and packing material, beyond which a cluttered narrow hall receded into darkness.  We stepped inside to find the artist chain-smoking and bent over a drafting table in an impossibly crowded workshop.  Unsure whether to disturb him we watched quietly for a few moments until he turned and invited us in with a warm smile.  He–Nanni Fumagalli, we learned from his card–spoke no English but Judy’s Italian was sufficient to learn that he had recently taken his pension to pursue his art full-time.  Each work is mapped out with draftman’s precision on a wooden backing to which he affixes razor-cut fine-wood veneer to produce trompe l’oeil images of, say, an open cupboard door that reveals scattered books and drafting instruments reminiscent of his shop, or an arch opening onto Cortona’s Piazza Republica. The pictures below are all we took from the experience; Fumagalli’s pieces cost €2,000 and up.