Our new series “The Genesis of Craftsmanship,” in collaboration with A. Lange & Söhne, takes us into the studios of makers whose painstaking manual work is carrying the time-honored tradition of their crafts into the future. Originally founded in 1860, Galleria Romanelli is one of the oldest sculpture studios still operating today. In the second installment of the series, we take a look at how their team of sculptors use locally sourced materials and traditional techniques to create classic pieces with a contemporary twist.
Set in a charming historical building located in Florence’s culturally vibrant Oltrarno district, Galleria Romanelli is home to a family-owned sculpture studio that has been honing its craft for two centuries. The Romanelli family has five generations of sculptors and artists behind them and continues to produce pieces that “blend tradition with contemporary taste” for a range of clients, including collectors, art lovers, architects, decorators and designers.
Inside, the studio is lined with shelves of sculptural busts, pedestals are topped with plastered figures and plush olive-green armchairs become part of surrounding sculptural tableaus. Jam packed with sculptural bodies and parts, the space looks like the site of a museum’s archive. The building was previously a church before well-known Italian sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini turned it into his studio space in 1829. After Bartolini’s death, the Romanellis took over the space.
Now led by Raffaello C. Romanelli, the studio creates unique pieces on commission and limited edition artworks while the gallery has become a meeting space for artists and clients alike. During our visit, Raffaello gave us a tour of the space and we got to see his team of sculptors deep in the midst of their artisanal work.