On the occasion of the fourth edition, held in 2022, 57 new Masters of Arts and Crafts have been awarded: their signatures have been written on the symbolic Golden Book of Italian Artisanal Excellence.
MAM - Maestro d'Arte e Mestiere, promoted by the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art in partnership with ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine, is a unique acknowledgement for Italian excellent artisans. 57 new names have been added in 2022: 45 talents in 23 categories of artistic craftsmanship (including ceramics, jewellery, woodcraft, furniture-making, metalwork, fine mechanics, mosaics, leather craft, printmaking, restoration, theatrics and tailoring) and 13 titles given to exponents of 13 different disciplines related to the art of hospitality.
The aim of this biennial initiative is to institionalize the independent title of Maestro d'Arte e Mestiere (MAM), in acknowledgement of the excellence of the country's artisans and in compensation for the Italian system's lack of commendation. The MAM sustains, promotes and celebrates the extraordinary work of outstanding craftspeople by bringing them to the attention of the general public and the media.
In order to maintain Italy’s historic leadership in the creation of beauty, it is essential to protect and promote these unique skills that form such a key part of our heritage.
The MAM - Maestro d’Arte e Mestiere title was created to pay a heartfelt and grateful tribute to the many “intelligent hands” behind Italy’s creative and artisanal excellence, who allow us to feel worthy heirs of the teachings of the Renaissance and the unparalleled human and cultural legacy it left behind.
While often hidden from the public eye, the know-how, passion and human worth of the great master artisans constitute one Italy’s most important assets: an artistic, cultural and economic goldmine recognised and coveted the world over. Thus, it is essential to protect and promote these unique skills, which form such a key part of the Italian heritage. The competence and extraordinary skills of the master artisans passed down through the generations are not lost but rather are collated and updated thanks to the culture of the project and the sensitive use of new technologies. MAM currently features over 280 extraordinary “living treasures”, according to the evocative Japanese definition. This inspiring list will be completed with many other exceptional master artisans in the future; discovered, selected and promoted among the numerous ones that Italy carefully treasures.
The Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d'Art is a private non-profit organisation established in Milan by Franco Cologni, its President, in 1995. The Cologni Foundation’s founding purpose is to accomplish a “new Renaissance” of the artistic crafts and rescue the métiers d’art from the threat of extinction. Its initiatives are chiefly addressed to the young and to the training of the next generations of artisans.
The Cologni Foundation promotes, supports and carries out a number of cultural, academic and educational programmes. In the book series “Mestieri d’Arte” (Métiers d’Art) and “Ricerche” (Researches), published by Marsilio Editori, the Cologni Foundation retraces the history of highly specialised crafts and skills, investigating the great heritage of Italian traditional knowhow as well as the new interpretations of contemporary craftsmanship.
The children’s book series “Storietalentuose” (Stories of talent), published by Carthusia, introduces young readers to the fascinating world of Italian artistic crafts. The Foundation publishes the magazine "Mestieri d’Arte & Design. Crafts Culture", dedicated to the excellence of know-how and design, distributed to the subscribers of Elle Decor Italia and in important and prestigious institutions and museums of applied arts.
Through the apprenticeship programmes of the project “A School, a Job. Training to Excellence”, the Cologni Foundation actively supports the training of young people in high craftsmanship and their introduction into the working world.
The Foundation collaborates with Starhotels, OMA and Gruppo Editoriale on the project 'La Grande Bellezza', in support of Italian craftsmanship.
The Cologni Foundation is also involved in many initiatives with prominent schools and universities, and cooperates with many international foundations and organisations, among which the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship and the INMA, Institut National des Métiers d’Art. The Foundation is also partner in the international network of the “Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art” (European Artistic Crafts Days).
ALMA is the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian Cuisine. The school educates chefs and sommelier from all around the world, forming professionals of Italian Cuisine with training programs at the highest level, executed by world’s leading teachers.
ALMA has its Headquarters in the magnificent Palazzo Ducale of Colorno near Parma, equipped with the latest teaching and cooking facilities. For all these reasons we are convinced that, for those who have chosen to work in the fascinating world of fine cooking, ALMA represents a valuable investment for the future as well as an extraordinary training experience.
The most advanced techniques and the wisdom of the traditions, practice and gastronomic culture, the knowledge of raw materials and territories in the world of Italian food and wines, and much more, constitute a unique and enthralling didactic method.
The ALMA method includes meeting great Cuisine, Pastry and Wine Masters, attending their classes, looking at their experiences and emotions, and admiring their genius: this is part of what makes ALMA’s students special, real professionals.
The President of the Italian Republic, Mr. Sergio Mattarella, has acknowledged the importance of the 4th edition of the MAM - Maestro d'Arte e Mestiere title with a special medal.
The project is under the aegis of numerous important and prestigious institutions.
Each of the 57 Masters of Arts and Crafts named in 2022 received a specially made work of art: a medal crafted by the Scuola dell'Arte della Medaglia in Rome. It is the only art school in the world to be part of a state mint.
Each edition of the MAM will feature a new version of this precious object, manufactured by the mint. Designed by a talented group of students from the Scuola dell'Arte della Medaglia, the casting chosen for 2022 represents a male figure, caught three-quarter to the right, in a gesture of concentration and reflection, representing the Master artisan; in the background a seven-pointed star represents the cosmos in motion, the communication between the worlds of creation and high craftsmanship. The 'creator’ hands receive the impulse from the mind and return the 'creation', the essence of craftsmanship. The whole rich allegory communicates the values of MAM through a very intense and evocative representation.
Working from the original sketch, the works of art were crafted in bas-relief by Fonderia Artistica della Zecca (the Italian mint’s artistic foundry) using the complex artistic process of sand-casting, a technique requiring various stages of manual production.
As part of Fondazione Cologni's collaboration with Palazzo Litta, the award ceremony took place in Milan at Teatro Litta, Milan's oldest theatre still in activity, which has recently undergone a philological restoration. Situated in the city centre, it occupies a wing of Palazzo Litta, one of the most significant works of late Baroque architecture in Lombardy and the prestigious seat of the Regional Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture. The ceremony ended in the Palazzo's courtyard of honour, the venue for important events dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of artistic crafts, as well as an ideal setting for celebrating Italian excellence in savoir-faire.