Thousand engravings - catalogue of the Galleria L'Ottagono exhibition, 8-4-2005, Nicola Arnoldo Manfredi

In my father's studio, on a table, leaning against the wall, there were always some plates already waxed and ready to be drawn. A little further on, two trays covered with dusty glass, one with the blue acid for the copper, the other for the zinc. Some have emphatically called it the alchemist's corner. But nothing was more natural for him than drawing and engraving a plate, a practice by no means secondary to painting and so refined by experience as to appear banal.

He believed that the value of engraving resides in the design and harmonic construction of the compositional space rather than in various technicalities; nevertheless, its flat biting for such a streamlined and rounded stretch in the hollow was the result of an ability to do and a knowing how to see matured to the maximum degree through that daily and repetitive craftsmanship that ultimately distinguishes true artists. The dry points are equally extraordinary, but not so much in this case for the way of engraving, as for the way he printed them, caressing them with an incomparable lightness and wisdom in naturally bringing black back to signs. He told us that he had learned it from Ciarrocchi, after being teased because he moved, with disastrous results for the cleaning of the ink plate, the palm from the bottom up and not vice versa. And only after years of trying did we children acquire the necessary skill to print them. The engravings of the year 2000, almost all of which have not yet been seen except by some collectors, seem to us to testify well to the perfect synthesis between technique and rendering of the drawing achieved by our father.

Color printing from linoleum matrices was also congenial to him. For several years many, as well as the engravings, had been printed them in our workshop with our help. To achieve the desired extenuation of the chromatic tone, he printed with the download technique, using numerous sheets to then choose a few good copies. I argued that there was nothing worse for a printer than throwing away a lot of paper. He replied that he didn't care about quantity: “Maximum quality with maximum waste!”, He replied, offering me this funny concept as authentic by Maccari. The colors had to compose the image while remaining almost impalpable, contrasting with one or two more intense backgrounds. The fact remains that the chromatic refinement that he knew how to obtain is unique, never found again. These pages of The leg of Namur are the latest delicious fruit.