Fernando Marzani: Shaping the lives of others

Story by Emily Pronschinske

An English art critic once said, “Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of a man go together.” Fernando Marzani’s story is one of fine art.

Fernando is a wood sculptor and painter by trade, and art is the common thread in everything he has achieved. Throughout his life, Fernando has been working with his hands, sharing his knowledge, and using his talents to show his heart to others.

Fernando began working with his hands at a young age. After fifth grade, he had to stop going to school, so he took up his grandfather’s trade as a wood sculptor. He holds up his hands to show the fingers he has lost in years of doing his work.

“Every wood sculptor has lost fingers,” Fernando says. “It is part of the job.”

While still a young man, Fernando managed to continue working and going back to school at the same time. He graduated from the Art School in Cagli where he studied wood sculpting and painting.

After finishing his schooling, Fernando moved away from Cagli and settled in Luxembourg. The wood sculpting set he continues to usecame from the time he spent working there.  After eight years in Luxembourg, he moved back to Italy where he began teaching in Pergola and Urbino. For 20 years, Fernando shared his knowledge and passion, sculpting his trade-school students into artists by teaching them how to compose great art with their hands.

Fernando’s passion for teaching did not end when he stopped working at trade schools. He then began a program teaching wood sculpting and painting to people with Down Syndrome. Fernando taught these students how to use their hands to do things for others. Smiling from ear to ear, Fernando shows photos of their accomplishments, including a large wooden sculpture in the shape of a tree that was put on public display.

Fernando’s artwork includes oil paintings and painted statues. He sculpts large, wooden armoires and does some wood restoration projects. One of the pieces he is most proud of is the altar he built that still stands in Cagli’s Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia. The project took him about four months. He can list a number of places around Cagli where his work is on display.

Now retired, Fernando spends his time in Cagli with his family. He still works in his shop on the occasional projects for a friend or customer. When he isn’t working, Fernando spends time taking care of his grandsons, Micheli and Ettore.

“I still love doing what I do, but I would rather be playing grandpa any day,” Fernando says.

Photo of Fernando Marzani

Fernando paints wood to look like marble.

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