In the third edition, held in 2020, 78 new Masters of Arts and Crafts have been awarded: their signatures have been written on a 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 award for Italian excellent artisans. The new titles are 78: 65 honoured talents in 23 categories of artistic craftsmanship (including ceramics, jewellery, woodcraft, furniture, metalwork, mechanics, mosaics, leather craft, printmaking, restoration, theatrics and textile design) and 13 titles paid homage to exponents of 13 different cuisine and beverage sectors.
The aim of this biennial initiative is to institute the independent title of Maestro d'Arte, in acknowledgement of the excellence of the country's artisans and in compensation for the Italian system's deficiency in 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 award 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 masters make Italy great and constitute one of its 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 knowledge and extraordinary skills of the master craftsmen 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 200 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, scientific 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 Cologni Foundation is also involved in many initiatives with prominent schools and higher education institutions: in Milan with Università Bocconi, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Polytechnic University, Creative Academy, Domus Academy; in Paris with EDC.
The Cologni Foundation 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 project is under the aegis of numerous important and prestigious institutions.
Each of this year's 78 Masters of Arts and Crafts was the recipient of a specially made work of art: a medal crafted by the Scuola dell'Arte della Medaglia, the school of medal making at the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato 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, which will continue to be manufactured by the mint. Designed by a talented group of students from the Scuola dell'Arte della Medaglia, the casting chosen for 2020 represents a young woman, an allegory of Italy, with wings in her hair that represent intelligence and creativity. The composition is all played on the richness of allegorical elements: the waves of the sea, the driving force of innovation; the dodecahedron, a symbol of ingenuity; the gems that refer to art and craftsmanship; the olive leaves, a representation of wisdom and strength.
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.
A digital award
This year the Cologni Foundation and ALMA have responsibly chosen to organise the award-giving cerimony, which has always been hosted at the Salone d'Onore of Triennale Milano, on a digital platform, for the protection of the health of the Masters and the public. The video of the event is officially released on 26 October at 6.30 pm CET and will then be available on the dedicated website: www.maestrodartemestiere.it.