MOTHER OF ALL MEN
[MADRE DI TUTTI]
A letter and a painting from 1544
In 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.
Painting pictures by Damiano Morandini.