Artful engravings for over 60 years
From the kitchen of his parent’s house in northern Italy, a young Cesare Giovanelli fell in love with the time-honored craft of metal engraving. The earliest evidence of engraving, shown in shallow grooves on metal, has been found on some jewelry dating back to 1000 B.C.E. The artform as it’s known today evolved in 15th century Germany and Italy from the intricate initialing work of goldsmiths — around 500 years later, in 1950’s Italy, Giovanelli made it his goal to shepherd the essential and beautiful art of engraving into the 20th and 21st centuries. In 1955, he established Bottega Incisioni C. Giovanelli, the iconic engraving workshop and school in Magno, a small village outside Gardone Val Trompia in Brescia, Italy.
In over 60 years since, Bottega Incisioni C. Giovanelli has become a global lodestar for aspiring artists and engravers, and a point of origin for the best engravers in the world. Each day, around 45 full-time engravers work by the picture windows overlooking the workshop gardens. (Perhaps they admire the many sculptures that Giovanelli has collected over the years; the stone hilltop chateau doubles, in many respects, as a living art museum.) Together, they craft items for a cadre of internationally renowned brands and individuals, the Pope included.
The rhythm of metal engraving
The peaceful quiet surrounding Bottega Incisioni C. Giovanelli’s engraving workshop is punctuated by the steady rhythm – tick, tick, tick – of precise gravers pinging off steel. It’s a symphony of skill and artistry, the small details manifesting into a stunning whole over 20, 40, and sometimes 80 hours of meticulous work. The engraver’s eyes and hands move around the workpiece as nimble and unerring as the bees and butterflies that float across the engravings of the Amici 1814 blade. The work is demanding, intricate and painstakingly precise – it’s also undoubtedly beautiful.
Turning a piece of steel into a canvas
Few artists achieve the rank of master engraver, and Dario Cortini is one of the most celebrated. At the young age of 14, captivated by drawing, Cortini convinced Giovanelli to give him a chance at his awarded, internationally famous workshop. Over multiple decades and tens of thousands of hours of training, Cortini became a master engraver himself – and the head of the Bottega Incisioni C. Giovanelli School of Engraving.
“Seventy percent of engravers in Italy studied here,” says Cortini of his alma mater. “Family is the heart of a person. It makes you who you are. And I consider each of my students to be part of my family.”
The school, which offers free tuition to artists, is attended by talent from all over the world. Under Cortini’s design and leadership, the WÜSTHOF team is honored to use our premium stainless-steel blades as a lens for the engraver’s art of storytelling.
“When WÜSTHOF approached me, I initially thought it was a simple task to decorate a blade with motifs,” says Cortini. “But over the course of the collaboration, I realized that the task was more complex. WÜSTHOF wanted to pay tribute to the wonderful nature of Italy, and to tell a story about it that goes beyond the Amici 1814 art edition.”
Captured on the Amici 1814 blade in the filament engravings of florals, butterflies and buzzing bees in search of honey is the idea that art, both in engraving and in knifework, is a method of storytelling with people and place at its core. Finished with the authentic WÜSTHOF trident engraved near the heel of the blade, this one-of-a-kind knife encapsulates the beauty of this once-in-a-lifetime partnership.