Firmo Fracassi was born in 1939 and grew up in Tavernole, a small village near Brescia. The area is well-known for gunsmiths and the exceptional guns exported from there all over the world. The main metallic parts of these guns are the object of meticulous and wonderful engraving.
It was probably this background which drove Firmo, and after him his daughter Francesca, to choose a career as engraver. As a consequence, it is in an almost unknown corner of the Val Trompia that two of the world’s most able engravers are to be found, making it the destination of some of the world’s most refined and demanding collectors.
Even though engraving is a closed book to many, it is enough to admire some of their work to understand the reasons for their success. This success results from the interplay of three basic factors: passion, technique and patience. Lots of patience.
They use the burin technique, a form of engraving which involves using a thin, steel-tipped scalpel known as a burin. Owing to furrows engraved in the metal of different depth, angle and shape, real miniature works of art can be created.
And in a world dominated to a large extent by conceptual art which can be produced quickly, the Fracassi family spend on average 300 hours to perfect a knife handle and, in some exceptional cases, more than 2,000 hours on a complete shotgun receiver.
Today, bent over their tools, Firmo and Francesca produce work to order on the most varied of objects and types of metal, and even though each completes their own jobs alone, they work side by sides, as father and daughter – a wonderful image which results in their very best engravings.
Sarezzo, October 2017