Bestselling book on Rome Italy
Bestselling book on Rome Italy



Postcards from Rome

Postcards from Rome

A Choir in Rome
Italian Politics
An Artist in Rome
Roman Countryside

An Artist in Rome

Augusto Ranocchi, Renaissance Man

"Although I have in the past decried the lack of classic modern art in Rome (see Letters from Italy: Modern Art in Rome), you'd never know it from seeing the work of Augusto Ranocchi. Augusto comes from Urbino, in the Marche, which was the home of Raphael, and although to my knowledge they are not related, it is clear that Augusto profited from having breathed the same air as his Renaissance predecessor, because when you look at his work you think, "true artist." The first thing that comes to mind is his versatility. Whether he is working on canvas, in ceramics, on bronze or wood or marble, Augusto leaves his mark. His latest abstract paintings, combining yellows and greens in striking geometric patterns, fixes your gaze and keeps it for a long, long time. And I marveled also in the way Augusto can turn an ordinary wine pitcher into something more than an a mere adornment, a piece of sculpture that in this case completely took over a table of delicacies and made it look like it had been arranged by a master.

Augusto Rannochi, artist

And speaking of eating, Augusto's talents extend past the canvas and the other materials and make their way into the kitchen. He recently prepared a lunch for us one gorgeous spring Sunday that also reflected his native Urbino, making -- in addition to a variety of other dishes, including roasted lamb -- a soup that comes from his region the Marche called Passatelli in brodo di gallina. It consists of simple chicken broth and homemade pellet-like pastas, which are made from farina, bread crumbs, egg, and grated lemon rind and nutmeg. It was something I had never before eaten in Italy but hope, now that I know about it, to do so very soon. Having lived and worked in Los Angeles for five years, Augusto has lots of contacts there and is now firing up bronze doors -- like his Roman artistic predecessors of old -- that will be placed in a spacious home overlooking the Pacific in Malibu. When I once watched his eyes glaze over as he talked about being in Carrara looking for the right marble -- as Michelangelo once did -- for a now-finished project, it was absolutely clear to me that he is the closest thing to a Renaissance man as I've ever met."

Alan Epstein

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