In Perugia’s historic center, a family of artists has been making stained-glass windows for five generations.
In 1894 the founder, Master Glasspainter Francesco Moretti, and his nephew, Lodovico Caselli, decided to move to a 15th-century building and to start their activity there. That building became the Moretti Caselli Studio: inside, the interiors, the numerous sketches, the stained-glass windows and the old photographs recall Perugia’s history and attest to the owners’ love for antiques as well as their many cultural interests.
In the Workshop there are still some tools and machinery which are no longer in use; evidence of the life and activity of the place. Among these, the wood-fired firing oven is absolutely exceptional: it was designed by Moretti down to the smallest detail in order to obtain different temperatures.
From 1863 to 1987, Moretti challenged himself, experimenting with techniques, colors and tools in the restoration of the large stained-glass window of St. Domenico’s Church in Perugia. His innovative ideas materialized in the art of glass painting, when he created a true masterpiece in 1881: the life-size portrait of Italy’s Queen Margherita di Savoia. The art produced by him and his heirs can be admired in Perugia’s Cathedral: inside, you find the Adorazione dei pastori (Adoration of the Shepherds) by Moretti, Il martirio di San Lorenzo (The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence) by Lodovico Caselli and the large windows of the apse by Rosa and Cecilia Caselli, Lodovico’s daughters.
According to Moretti, a stained-glass window is like an oil painting that has something more: instead of being painted on canvas, it is painted on glass, thus giving, thanks to the light, wonderful effects. The figures result from meticulous research and a succession of small and careful brushstrokes which make the painting as realistic as possible.
Painting a window means mixing colors and light, and giving life to a work generated by this combination. This means studying the location where the window will be placed, observing the movements of the sun, looking for the best light. Only after all this, are the colors imagined, chosen and mixed, and the brushstrokes applied. It is precisely the sunlight that allows, even during the realization of the work in the Studio, the artist to verify step by step the outcome of colors and combinations. Finally, the lead mountings allow the glass pieces to be put together, thus creating the stained-glass window.
In present day, the creation and restoration of stained glass still continues in the Moretti Caselli Studio Museum. In order to promote glass painting and restoration activities, many events and educational workshops for adults and children are held.
Inside the Workshop, visitors can take a stroll through history by enjoying guided visits by appointment.The members of the family welcome guests and share with them stories, works, and anecdotes that are worth over one hundred years, deeply connected with Perugia’s history. Moreover, an interesting point of view of the 19th-century’s life in Perugia is offered by the Archive, the Library, many periodicals and about 2000 photographic plates.