In conversation with Sandro Granucci

Silvia Napoleone sat down with Sandro Granucci to discuss his life, his art, and his blossoming career as a wine label designer for Montecalvi. He is an extraordinary man, and we are delighted to be working with him. He has a studio in Greve in Chianti, on via Roma, which is very much worth a visit. Click here for directions,+32,+50022+Greve+in+Chianti+FI/@43.5832479,11.313675,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x132a4b1717e82641:0x90bd5eda5899f77b!8m2!3d43.5832479!4d11.3162553!16s%2Fg%2F11csjrk709?entry=ttu

Where were you born and where were you raised?

I was born and raised in Lucca where I attended school and made my debut as a sculptor. In the early 1970s, I moved to Florence to attend the Faculty of Architecture and at the same time, I devoted myself to painting and graphics. In the 1980s, I got to know Chianti and have never left.

When did you first have an interest in art?

I discovered my passion for drawing while I was attending the scientific high school: in those years I studied with older artist who worked with metals. I learned about bronze, which was an expensive material and therefore special to deal with in those days.

Where did you study art? What did you study?

I attended the Faculty of Architecture in Florence, but it was my family’s decision. During my years of study, I met a Florentine patron and started to create works for him that allowed me to express myself artistically and support myself financially at the same time.

You work in a number of different mediums – do you have a preference for one or the other?

I got into art through drawing, but making sculptures was the springboard for my success. In recent years, since giving up figurative art, I have devoted much of my time to painting on canvas and the search for light through time. When I get inspired, I prefer one or the other, but they are both means through which I can express myself with equal satisfaction.

You have been very successful over many years. Has your work changed, evolved? What is your secret?

Work must always change and possibly progress. A big leap in my career occurred when I abandoned figurative art and embarked on the path of searching for light through time: the fourth dimension, the concept of spatiality and alchemical expression played a very important role in my work, resulting in an original and refined effect.

This secret, already known in Greek times, and revealed to me during a visit to the Venice Biennale, expanded the possibilities of expression in my artistic thinking.

You have made a number of works that can be seen around Greve in Chianti. Do you have a particular favourite? The San Francesco at Molino di Grace perhaps?

Homocupressi, at the Villa Castagnoli Park in Panzano, represent my first large-scale bronze installation. Since then, a new creative dialogue with different environments has opened up: the enormous work of San Francesco is certainly one of my favourites, whose majesty required the intervention of my daughter Viola.

You also made the work that is at Montecalvi called ‘Equilibrio Ecologico’. Can you tell us a little about that sculpture?

‘Equilibrio Ecologico’ is certainly one of my favourite bronze statues, born from a pre-existing work. Its meaning encapsulated in the nature-man-earth triangle is the inspiration for so many of my other representations. When I met James, I immediately felt in tune with him – and you know, works succeed even better when the recipient is dear to the artist!

You also worked with us in making the label for the Chianti Classico Riserva and the brand new label for the Alta Valle della Greve. Were these your first wine labels? How did you go about it? Did you enjoy the process?

I was commissioned in the past by Vino al Vino in Panzano to create a label for each winery participating in the event.

Honoured to create a few labels here in the Chianti Classico region, I also gladly accepted the assignment to create artistic labels for Montecalvi, since there was an immediate understanding and affinity on the part of the client.

Your daughter is also an artist in Greve. Do you sometimes collaborate? What sort of work does she do?

Yes, we have collaborated on several occasions, the most significant being when Viola was my assistant in the realisation of the work San Francesco delle Vigne.

I have often tried to encourage her by respecting her choices, which are sometimes far removed from my artistic experience: I do not pay much attention to space and reality, while she seeks more formal relevance in her works.

We are located in the middle of what was the Renaissance. Do you have a favourite artist or artwork from that era?

In the 1990s, when I opened my studio, I had no hesitation in dedicating it to Leonardo da Vinci, the multifaceted alchemist. He was the artist of reference for me throughout my training experience, the one who gave me the foundation and the inspiration to embark on this career.

We are also surrounded by wonderful galleries and museums. Can you give us your top three to visit?

How could I omit the Uffizi Gallery! With pleasure I remember Palazzo Pitti, which takes me back in time when I used to go to the export office of the fine arts. Among my favourites is also the House of Buonarroti, a small but extraordinarily complete museum.