Mediterranean: the Master of peperino tells us about the marine environment

This is Mario Gavotti, the Italian artist from Marino in the province of Rome, who has been able to transform the rigid magmatic rock into floating and harmonious works that tell the sea, the watery worlds, forms that sometimes make us think of our first cradle: the amniotic liquid. In the territory of the municipality of Marino there are the quarries of lapis albanus, as the Romans called the peperino, but this stone has a history that dates back to the Palaeolithic and then, gradually, the Etruscans used it for their sarcophagi, the Romans for public buildings, until it became dominant building material for medieval and Renaissance buildings.

The incredible is right here, a material so special used for construction purposes has been shaped like water by this incredible master of art. Mario had a very special family history, he did not know his parents, this created in him an emotional storm and a need for continuous research of that one world that led him back to the womb that drove him to challenge the material harder, more durable as his pain, to make it watery, soft, welcoming, source of life as the sea precisely. Today Mario Gavotti has turned ninety and has much to tell about his life dedicated to teaching, making each student a masterpiece for its uniqueness, something that has been recognized not only with the affection that still show him today. His artistic life was invigorated in 1947 when he was awarded the diploma of Master of Art, and then working at the Gallery “Medici” and other marble workshops acquiring a complete mastery of the various techniques of plastic.

In 1993 he ended his career as a teacher and devoted himself solely to artistic production, from peperino had begun to range also to Carrara marble, until in 2003 the recognition of a disabling retinal disease prevented him from giving vent to his creativity through sculpture. Mario Gavotti, however, is stronger than any evil, he has not lost heart and, with the help of experts, has embarked on a journey, with the little vision at his disposal, Art as Therapy producing a considerable amount of drawings made with various expressive techniques that have allowed him to overcome the inevitable moments of darkness and depression resulting from the disease acclaimed.

Today his wonderful works remain to tell us about that marine world, infinite but at the same time welcoming and protective, where life forms are shaped.

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What is Peperino?

The peperino of Marino originates from the activity of the Albano Volcano (or Laziale Volcano), which finds its place in the area of the Castelli Romani, between the towns of Albano Laziale, Castel Gandolfo and Marino, also touching the towns of Grottaferrata, Rocca Priora, Genzano di Roma and Velletri. After the eruptions, the solidification of the lava emitted by the volcanic cone gave rise to different types of minerals, from tuff to peperino.
The Marino pepper has been defined by experts as “hardened muddy lava”, because by digging the rock in the subsoil of the municipality of the Roman Castles, they bring to light veins of damp rock, still in formation. Its colour is grey, iridescent from light to dark and contains other crystallised mineral materials, such as zeolite, pieces of wood and bone fragments, which characterise it and make it unique.
Many craftsmen have created architectural works, walls, walls and immense staircases with Marino’s peperino, made special by its dotted shape, which gives it a regal appearance. The sculptures made by Gavotti Mario, push those who observe them to want to touch, caress, to receive sensory perceptions even from touch and not only from sight.

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