the summer of 1998 I was searching for a subject for a new novel. One
day I met by chance a distant relation who had just set himself up as an
antiques dealer. He invited me to visit his shop and I thought I'd make
him happy by going along. When I saw Novazio's painting, I had no idea I
would ever get a story out of it, since often stuff and people who
become important in our lives, can seem distinctly anonymous and
stranger. I remember moving it to get a better look, being careful not
to hurt myself on the rusty nails sticking out from the ruined frame.
The image too was considerably damaged, however, the date 1544 and the
reasonable price persuaded me to buy it. I entrusted it directly to the
restorer Massimo Facchini, who found behind a cross-bar of the
frame a letter in the painter's own hand, later authenticated by the
world reputed calligrapher Brody Neuenschwander. It was this letter that
gave me the title Mother of All Men [Madre di tutti]
for the painting. I'm sure you will be amazed, just as I was and
continue to be.
pictures by Damiano Morandini.