Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sleeping Stones - Caves of Maurizio

Maurizio Becherini (1859 - 1932)
In 1918, this barber and tailor decides to live like a hermit in the Forra forest, located a few kilometers away from Gambassi, his Tuscan native village. In a little more than six years (until his death), he builds his own Jerusalem: he puts together footbridges, he sculpts the walls of the cave where he sleeps, he embellishes it with a few statues, some self-made and others acquired, he builds an altar in the relief and a little chapel surrounded by faces, he erects statues of saints (notably those of the Redeemer and of St Peters). He uses concrete, chicken coop wire netting as frame, stones and shells to form the head, buttons for the eyes, large bicycle sprockets for the halos. During the numerous pilgrimages taking place in the 20's, photographs of the place and of the creator were taken and became postcards. After the death of the hermit, some works went missing, while others were damaged by the bad weather and by the forest. Today, we are only left with a few evocative traces destined to disappear.