At the entrance of the viIIa’s gate “Le Querciolaie” by Monteverdi Marittimo, there is a sign indicating: “Rolando Stefanacci – sculptor”, the reproduction of some of his sculptures and the phrase “ALCHEMY WITH NATURE “ A binomial that suits him well: that alchemy science Stefanacci is closely examining for many years now applied to the nature of the immense park surrounding the sixteenth-century villa where he found for some time the quietness for his “working idleness7 A park full of secular oaks and ilexes, Mediterranean bush and flowers of any kind “coming out” from the earth giving him that yellowrose tree stone nuance with which he realised many of his sculptures and through which he built up some original little villas immersed into the vegetation, Stefanacci codified for some time his entire work into a monograph embracing it till 1998. A work that in the latest few years has just assumed aspects ofgreat intèrest for the quality of its product but, most of all, for those esoteric meanings to be subtended and perceived in the components. “Art – says Stefanacci – is alchemy’. He keeps on: “Since the earliest times, just when men began to turn away from their natural state, the artist comprehends that matter is composed of elements. By distilling the colours from vegetables, ground, oxides and minerak he tries to delinea te the forms through representative scenes ofevents and hieroglyphs to be used as a primordial but universal communication vehicle. He instinctively apprehends ha can use any material, wood and stone, metak and. anything the marvellous universe shares with him. He feek the uncontrollable need to honour those forces that unable and quite force him to compose and decom pose, according to his intimist perception, temples, monuments and divine representations”.
“But why – we ask – art is alchemy”.“In such an endless research – adds Stefanacci – the artist (the man, as well) sees himself as the fruit of an alchemy process. He as well recognise himself as completely àbsorbed in the cycle of compositions and decompositions, not quite different from the matter he shaped and from the objects he represented. He perceives in an instant to be, firstly, the work of a sublime artist and eterhal, by that way permeated with the soul essence that vivifies the universe. It is the deep consciousness of the perpetual alternation of compositions and decompositions that makes it possible my own existence, of which art is the supreme expression”.
On the spur of this conception arising from deepen studies on the knowledge (“Better making our own way into darkness – he affirms – instead cìf stop watching the surface”), Stefanacci has in the last few years got on with the study of the ermetic doctrines, ofthat “great work’ the alchemy, a word dating back from the earliest times that is, in Greece and in Egypt but That in substance proves to be an ermetic science plunging its basis into the permutation of the forms through the spirit.
With time Stefanacci obtained consents and gratifications for his work as an artist and as a man, too. Among the many to be recalled is a writing by pro fessor Antonio Bagni on the occasion of Stefanacci’s artistic intervention in the cemetery of Agliana in Tuscany where he has decorated a chapel with his wonder fui ceramics. Words that englobe the two aspects, Stefanacci’s artistic and human ones: “For those who can grasp it, the meeting with a person is always – he writes – a creative input to fully uve our own human dimension, both in social and individuaI terms. When you meet Rolando Stefanacci, a complete man and artist, you feel inside a fluid that shakes you interiorly pushing you to find in the mystery of existence the sign of a different way -ancient and new at the same time – to breath life”. When there is not the physical presence of Rolando, there are the revealing glazed visions of his ceramics, which in vite you to the search of the arcane reasons of life. His works, fruit ofan intense and deep reflection activity, whether to comprehend or communicate the reality, trans figure in significant symbols the simplest everyday life facts by enlightening them with lights and colours in per fect symbiosis with nature, with the mystery of its seasons, with the sunbeams and the moonshine”.“I am lucky – he goes on – to uve in Agliana, a little town between Pistoia and Prato, where Rolando, in sign of friendship and with great generosity, has given some of his works, not for a vain search of glory but to leave a trace, a message to those who will see and be able to read them with pure hearth. In the old Town House, beside the stairs leading to the council hall and in front of the exit of the library, stands out one of his ceramics of about three metres and a half of height and one of width, con tained in a great and carved walnut frame, in which is the tali figure of a young man, symbol ofAgliana Town Hall (young because of his recent history even though with rural medieval origins). He holds a balance by the arms that is, justice, and a dove that is, peace.
Below is the Town House and a crowd of people running into it: the Town House should be a house opened to the participation of all citizens in order to rule in justice and peace”. Meanwhile, under the gallery outside the Technical Commercial School “Aldo Capitini’ in the most important school ofAgIiana, Rolando left the sign of his love for the young and the culture. To the discovering of his work were responsible the young who read Rolando’s ceramics described in their paper “Here the news!”: the work is 1,70 ofheight, the feet of the represented young man stand on the terrestrial cap where some biblical scenes are featured; the one on the right side is, with emphasis, referable to the fight between Cain and AbeI told in the Genesis; the one on the Ieft side suggests on the con trary different interpretations: someone in fact saw in it the jewish people led by Moses to the Mount Sinai in search for the Tables of the Laws; others the procession of the shepherds to Bethlehem in search for the hut of the Saviour announced to them; in the end someone eke, by reading this image, sees in it the humanity that, from the StoneAge on, walks towards the future and progress.
The young man standing in there, simply dressed and with absorbed air, holds two objects by the hands: on the left one, the book of the divine Iaw, on the right one the balance representing justice, or, the cultural, historical, religious equilibrium between the people that, unfortunately, are not currently ruled by humanity. The per fect alignment of the two pia tes represents the wish that the nowadays’ fragile equilibrium becomes stable and lasting in the future. The “Ca pitini” students concluded this way their article: we hope the presence of this sculpture in our school will be an invitation for everybody to the contemplation of ouselves, nature, art and life “.
“In the chapel of the new cemetery “The Garden” in Agliana, Rolando left a big message of hope. Leonetto Tintori, painter and restorer Pra tese, who Is well known in the artistic background, explains the meaning: with these ceramics Stefanacci con firms his willingness to the renewal and exploitation of the deepest human feelings by proposing a medita tion on moral and artistic values of fundamen tal importance.The general concept on which the decoration is based consists in the serene vision of human life from the beginning to th~ end. At the centre of the Chapel’s pediment, on a red-tiled background, a big egg is standing, which is the symbol of life: from the white uncovered celi comes out, new-born, the man. On the right wall inside, is standing, slim, Eva, who is lavishing numerous human beings with natural prolificacy. In front of Eva, on the left wall, Adamo advances with steps made safer by the promise ofjustice being entrusted to him. Behind the altar, on the front wall, Is the representation of life at sunset with the shadow of the sacrificial wood. The spirit of the dead stirs on the valley aspirating to the reunion with the Iuminous universe. On the entrance wall the pelican, symbol of love and sacrifice, conciudes the itinerary of the iimpid shades òf the enamek. “So, also in a piace that Is usually deputed to the contemplation of death, Rolando talks us about Iife through the symbols of a nature purified by love, in its ascensional motion to the Holy Spirit who, in the sky of the Chapel, supervises and wait.
It Is Rolando’s vital fluid that, through the rare fied air of his ceramics, Is and will always be present in Agliana to invite us to find in mistery the harmony of life”.That’s right, finding in mystery the harmony of life: the entire symbology
Stefanacci proposes in his ceramics, sculptures and – in far-off time – in his paintings, tends exactiy to that, or, finding the equilibrium of our life through the ancient secrets of the ermetic philosophy.
The last four years of Stefanacci’s artistic work are characteristic of pieces of work in ltaly and in other places, going on different trend that, from time immemorial, aren’t those draw of the search of the knowledge way, in that unlimited and magic world of symbok that trace the wisdom way, the possibility to come nearer to absolute truth. Pro fessor Rizzonico Marco, looking closely at Rolando Stefanacci’s hermetic universe, write: “The approach to Rolando’s art is a spiritual experience and the task to describe with words the basic of this feeling isn ‘t an easy task. In fact the reading and expressing levek of his production, are superimposed, are blurred, are amalgamate, and, even if are an united picture, they can appear difficult to understand for not experts. As often is for feelings, this is a false representation, since it’s the result ofsuperficial and epidermal approach to the works we meeting during the inquiry of his expressive form. In fact the riding difficulty of Rolando’s artistic messa ge, derives from inability to realize all the many-sided senses, feel a sensation that something drops, continuously.” “Evidently, this isn’t the right perspective: in fact, our cognitive and analytic instruments are absolutely inefficacious towards these works, the y’re as blunt chisek, not sharps tools, that prevent interpreter, user from inspecting deep recesses of this art. So, we must come back and observe works we are in front of us not through eyes or mi, but trough all our body, our not-mind.
Only in this way, with a real desire to fell and only for the persons have a pIa yful attitude to intuition, these works whis per, talk, sing, sometimes shout their sha ring to the universe.” “So, in a moment, this hermetic symbology, appears distinct, crystalline, with its infinite meanings. There’s all each aspect is inside: man and art, the world and the divine, but, first of all, the crea tion. Walking along the works it seems to be in a esoteric garden and we feel the sensation that each earthen ware form, each soft fold in the stone, is absolutely perfect, not being in a different way. But there’s more than that: walking down this path, observing, near the works, the stones, grass, plants, all seems moulded by the same hand we ask ourselves as it’s possible that those crea tures and that matter is result of Rolando’s art. As in the mystic hallucination, that can help us to realize the works we are immersed is only one th ing with nature, and it’s in this way hermetical, but as the universe, it’s simple and immediate as ifit has our genetic assets. We are grate fui to Rolando for his treasure.” “The waking up ofsymbols – says Stefanacci – is my awakening” to demonstrate how much symbology as influence of his work. On these symbols, his art expands, also and particularly in public makings.
Prophet in his own country, in 1999 Stefanacci Is asked to make a monument for the smal/ square next to the church of Sant’Agostino in Prato. It is a monumental work of art that, once more, plunges its roots in a deep reflection that Is one of the artist’s ways of acting. In fact he entrusts the execution to medita tion and, once more, to the symbo/.Here is how the artist explains his execution: “The huge stone supporting the representations is a marve/ ofthat forge of per fection, ca//ed nature. Its vague/y pyramida/ shape made me immediate/y think to the heaven/y heights and to the e/eva tion towards which each man should aspire..The triple circular base is the result ofan esoteric study. On the whole, I wanted that the sizes of the work were a/ways Pythagorean, multiples of three, being three the ihitiation number par excellence and obviously allusive to the Holy Trinity The inclina tion of Stefanacci to the studies of the ancient doctrines re-emerges, with particular emphasis. These studies are his point of force to provide exp!anations of extraordinary references between the mystic visions and the esoteric doctrines“
He carries on: “The Crea tor I represented Is father and mother at the same time; only in the ovular “a!veo” of his clothes man finds shelter and recognizes his source. My St. Francis Is ab!e to make brutal man progress showing him the sublime laws of nature. In the end I scu!ptured four crosses, the Egyptian, Tau, Temp!ar and Christian ones, as symbok of the long religious path of humanity”. On the occasion of the monument unveiling Guido Guidi Guerrera writes on “La Nazione” that “The sculptures of Rolando speak by themselves and have the power of evoking the highest spiritua/ signs a!ways belonged to humanity, beyond every reference to a precise re/igious belle f”.Not only the great initiated of the Church inspire Stefanacci, but also the various Ermete Trismegisto and Paraceko or the philosophers Pythagoras and PIa to, in substance all the great initiated of history.
The same inspiring themes are present in another big sculpture in tra vertin that Stefanacci p/aced in front of the door of his house.It Is one metre ar?d seventy high and weighs twenty-five quintak. It is called “Homage to the Divinities” and it Is surmonted by a big sun in bronze. The sculpture has on its front side, in the cen tre, Etruscan, Egyptian, Greek and Temp!ar symbols. In its back part there are the symbo!s of the Masonry, the christian cross, the symbol of St. Francis and of the Rosacroce.Meanwhlle Rolando Stefanacci knows an Austrian journa!ist, Karl Friedrick Broderix from Munchen who invites him to model and mould two handles for the oak door of the Chape! of San t’Anna near Niederch!etrenbach. In fact a thief, stole one original handle. The Chape! of San t’Anna, a symbo! of the Vosgi and a piigrinage sta tion, had been restored after the destruction of the Second World War.
The chapel is the burla! piace of Hans von Droth, Pala tine Marshal and iord of a cast!e in Benwartoteiss, knight of the French chi va!ry, who, at the end of the l5th century wanted to rebui!d the iate Gothic chapeì’, at that time dedica ted to the Virgin.The squires and the miners of the iron mines between Nathwerier and Niederschettenbach, renamed the house of God with the name of the miners’ patroness. Next to the knight Is the burlai piace of his wife with a sandstone pia te showing a coat of arms and an epigraph.
On the oak door with two wings of the chape! there were two bronze handles having the shape of two doves. The scuiptor who reproduced them was unknown, that Is why Broderix thought to Stefanaccl, an artist and a friend, and he had the idea to give him the commission for the work in agreement with a cu!turai circle of friends from the piace. Broderix is a great appreciator of Stefanacci’s art. We can deduce it also from a witness titied: “Aichemy and aiabaster” that says “I have known the art of Stefanacci since I was a chiid. His painting of the beginning, his heads in aiabaster and marbie, the scuiptures in bronze and in terracotta are in the house of my parents from time immemoria!. My first meeting with what today I recognize as art, was the weii smoothed ferehead of a head made in a rough river stone.
How that co!d stone invited to touch it! How, on the contrary, the open mouth and the stony eyes /ooking at the sky seemed to be extraneous and puzziing! Even today this sensoria/ approach Is for me an entrance in the enigma a!ways renewed of Roiando Stefanacci. In fact none of his uncountabie works of art Is mannered art pour i’art. In every stone, in every terracotta or bronze piece the artist’s sensibiiity for ancient and prehistoricai cuitures modeis itseif together with his studies on the forgotten science of aichimy, his research of truth in the contemporary art. Stefanacci Is a man who has aveiied a Ìot in the worid with an immense artistic creativity. In his poiyhedric art are, together with the strong Tuscan roots, ianguages coming from Africa and Asia. It Is there that the artist researches the ancien sources feeding the european culture. He reinvents himself every time, searching cease!essly and resting in himse!f. In this way from the mutab!e materia! he crea tes just disco vered lines and centerings. He p!aces flgures and faces in previously met structures and, [or a whi!e, finds con fidence in a series ofsketches about an idea.”
In the great park surrounding the “Quercio!aie’ Stefanacci has built severa! sma!! vi!!as in the same stone in which he crea tes his scu!ptures,immersed in nature and adorned with the artist’s ceramic decorations and a!chemist symbok. A haven for visitors, revered in an artic!e pub!ished in the magazine ~~Tutto Agriturismo”, a guide to the p!easures and cu!inary de!ights of farm ho!idays. The front cover issued a photograph of the charming interior of one of the viI!as bearing the unequivoca! tit!e of // A Memorab!e Atmosphere” in praise of the evocative ambience.Stefanacci was thus inspired to design and project a poo! in harmony with the surroùndings and recapturing the architectura! sty!e of ancient Rome. Yet another fine monument crea ted and signed by an artist who takes a specia! interest in the mysterious and fascinating world of ancient phi!osophy. A covered pool for pure enjoyment bordered by c!asica! sty!e arches. At the bottom of the pooì’, si!houetted by the water, a statue of a fema!e figure that deceiving!y appears to move be!ow the ripp!es
A homage to the e!ement of water that purifies and regenerates matter. As Stefanacci affirms “The pooi renders homage to clear water with the waxing moon, strengthened by the sun and honoured by the gods; at a distance, the Father,on a column, observing the pool.”Yet another esoteric exam pie of the primordiai forces of nature that Stefanacci has ako “honoured” with a series of small and monumentai fountains collocated by the pooi with other recentiy crea ted sculptures. One of the fountains is almost two metres high mounted on a base of three, entitied // Fontana del mondo” (Fountain of the world) in travertine and onyx. A ceiebration of the seven planets relating to the seven days of the week and the seven colours of Iris framed by hieroglyphics that signify the sovreignity over human beings,animais,vegetabies and minerak;.
mantled by a cascade ofsegments of a rare type of onyx, reveaiing the artist’s skiii in natura! art.During the same period, Stefanacci ako crea ted two monumental ceramic sculptures: one of Saint Francis colloca ted in a church in Germany and the other ,Saint Biagio, a large winged sculpture, collocated in the church dedicated to the same saint in Monteverdi.Monteverdi displays severa! of the artist’s works in ceramic and bronze: “L’Amo re per la giustizia dei paese” (Love for the justice of the town) pIaced on a wall at the entrance to the town; a bronze sculpture “Il sacrificio dell’Arma” (The sacrifice of the armed forces), a homage to the Carabinieri and ceramic reliefs in the Town Hall.The artist creates in his workshop which he fondly calk “the galley”. This is where his ceramic crea tions are baked in the oven and where he chisels away at new, more aerodynamic sculptures in stone or marble many of which are exhibited near the pool such as “Nut” the great Mother of the sky that protects the “doubIe” and con tributes to create animism.Many other works are abroad: “La donna dei mondo” in tra vertine in Switzerland, the “Figura di saggio” in alabaster is part of a collection in Scotland and severa! ceramic female figures in Germany.