According to the Japanese belief of tsukomogami, objects over one hundred years of age have a soul: something similar occurs with the silverware in Palazzo d'Arco in Mantua, invoking memories of a lively past and revealing among its reflections the "spirit of things”. A family treasure passed down from generation to generation, down to the last descendant, the countess Giovanna d'Arco Chieppio Ardizzoni, Marquise Guidi di Bagno, who established the Fondazione d'Arco. The book, edited by Francesca Rapposelli, presents, through essays and technical data sheets, a rich collection of silverware, which mainly dates back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: in order to reconstruct the past, services have been recomposed, coats of arms and monograms have been identified and stamps imprinted on the silver have been analysed, making an accurate study of the examples and in the archives of Palazzo d'Arco. Thematic insights by Caterina Davì, Elena Piazza, Francesca Rapposelli, Chiara Rubini, Rodolfo Signorini, Silvia Tosetti and Nicola Zanotti, accompanied by Federica Bottoli's splendid photographs, allow us to rediscover the daily habits related to these objects, which today are restored in their original function as can only happen in a home museum. The silverware becomes the testimony of a glittering universe that from the laid table poured into all environments from the bathroom to the desk, from the smoking room to the more informal meal on the way back from the hunt - this is a custom, which hints at the origins of brunch. A tale of another era kept in a volume with precious details, from the hollow punched cover and two different types of silver lined paper inside.
Lo spirito delle cose. Argenti e preziosi dei conti d'Arco is published to mark the exhibition of the same name, sponsored by the Fondazione d'Arco and held at the Palazzo d'Arco in Mantua from 30 March to 30 November 2019, in which a large selection of the family's silverware will be shown to the public for the first time.