Carlo Parlati

Carlo Parlati's Biography


Carlo Parlati was born in Torre del Greco in 1934 into a family of coral engravers. His father, Antonino, had a small artisan laboratory where from a very early age Carlo used to spend his time. It was here that he first came into contact with the ancient art of coral, showing an extraordinary aptitude and desire to learn. Later on he was a successful pupil at the Coral Engraving School in Torre del Greco, where he soon become one of the most promising students. These were decisive years for the formation of his artistic and creative character, bringing out that desire for experimentation and innovation that was to characterise all of his future activities.

Innovative, rebellious but at the same time a sensitive and tormented spirit, Carlo was the true artist in the family: aware of his skills and perfectly in command of operative techniques, he immediately sensed the expressive possibilities offered by engraving on coral and shell. His creations went far beyond the simple craft products typical of his father?fs work. While still young he refused to be subjected to the market demand that preferred a static and coercive production of creativity, thus giving absolute freedom to his artistic flair. With a thirst for learning he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples but this was not a happy experience: his stubborn and enterprising character found it hard to adapt to academic teaching and he chose to work alone in order to carry out research and training in absolute freedom and autonomy. At the start of the sixties, his life as a man and artist was marked by the purchase of a Bible from a used book stall. Deeply struck by what he read, in particular by the Apocalypse, his cosmic vision of existence emerged, the torment of the perpetual fight between good and evil, the knowledge that the only salvation is represented by that universal sentiment, love. At the same time he began to show interest for ancient peoples and their civilisations, he rediscovered the old techniques of glyptics and of sculpture, which he soon claimed as his own.It was no coincidence that during these years Carlo Parlati was to deeply mature his artistic personality: he harboured special interest for allegory, symbology, legends aimed always at representing the existential, individual and psychological drama of Man. Aware of artistic issues, his work was influenced by various contemporary artists, finding ideas for research and reflection. Thus, although his works would seem to recall shapes from the past they are very up-to-date and perfectly inserted into the wide-ranging panorama of modern art. An extraordinary production not only because it conveys the Artist?fs thoughts and states of mind, but also because it translates them into various shapes and techniques of execution, ranging from drawing to painting, from sculpture to engraving. His precious, refined art was recognised all over the world; wherever he presented his works he gained not only the critics?f favour but also that of a public that was wider but by no means less sensitive to his poetry. Carlo Parlati was a complete artist and as a proud inhabitant of Torre del Greco he sculpted and engraved with unsurpassable skill those precious materials from the sea ? coral and shells, often in unusual sizes ? from which his City benefited. Through his works he became the extraordinary ambassador throughout the world of the industry and coral working that has made Torre del Greco famous throughout the world for more than two centuries. A year after his death, this exhibition brings together some of the works from his private collection from the period from the end of the seventies to 2003 and is intended as homage to a great master, a reference that must not be ignored in our history of coral.

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