A predisposition to easily do things well, talent is a natural, innate ability and an intangible gift which, like a muscle, comes with a requirement to be developed or lost. Talented artisans have a remarkable sensitivity with regard to material and its possibilities and a propensity towards perfection. Recognizing their gift as a responsibility, they cultivate it with discipline, practice and patience so that it may come into its own in successful mastery and liberty of expression.

S.Pozzoli © Michelangelo Foundation 2016

In my case, talent in terms of execution, more than creativity, is crucial, even if taste plays an important role. Talent is something you are born with, but you have to hone it with practice. When I cut out the third layer of the rosette, for example, the outline is not traced on the parchment and I have to do it all by eye.

Elena Dal Cortivo
Parchment Rosette Creator

Elena Dal Cortivo trained as a luthier in Milan, and began work in Vicenza, occasionally also making decorative rosettes, intricately designed and made from goat parchment, for harpsichords and baroque guitars. In 1991, she opened a workshop in Milan where she continued to make and restore musical instruments and to receive requests for rosettes. Gradually, creating rosettes became her main occupation and today Elena Dal Cortivo is one of the most highly regarded practitioners of this rarest of crafts.

Tomas Bertelsen © Michelangelo Foundation 2015
Tomas Bertelsen © Michelangelo Foundation 2015

Talent forces you to discover if you have it, which seems a pretty fundamental point to me. Second, you mustn’t think that just because you discovered that you have a talent, you can stop there, because it might just be a skill. If you presume yourself to be a great artist, you are destined to disappear. And then, if this talent doesn’t attract others to you, it isn’t talent at all! Talent can’t be acquired, but it can empower what you have.

Eugenio Monti Colla
Marionette Theatre Director

At the age of three, Eugenio Monti Colla was backstage at Milan’s legendary Gerolamo Theatre, home to his famous puppeteer family for generations. He apprenticed there, then studied puppetry at university before re-forming the family company, staging the traditional repertoire and new marionette productions at prestigious venues and festivals. Committed to education, he led the Fiando Theatre School of Animation for 14 years, and continues to lecture on puppetry and theatre.

© Susanna Pozzoli