The 4 Elements
At the end of the summer, in collaboration with SISEF, the 60 Million Tree Program and the Progetto Ossigeno of Regione Lazio, the young trees nurtured by the Living Chapel will be distributed throughout Italy for the recovery of degraded areas and the creation of new Laudato Si’ Gardens. In collaboration with the Mountain Partnership, hosted at FAO, the Living Chapel is also becoming a global movement for the planting of new Laudato Si’ Gardens around the world. To all the institutions, schools, governmental and non-governmental organisations that will join our initiative outside Italy, since we cannot send our trees, we will send specially crafted artistic symbols of the Four Elements described poetically by Saint Francis of Assisi.
Sustainably packaged Water, an inorganic pigment that represents the Earth, a candle as Fire and handblown glass balls as Air will be sent, through the support of FAO, to our Living Chapel leaders in over 100 countries, each one of whom will be paired with two local advisors: an indigenous community member and an environmental scientist.
Air is positioned in nature above both water and earth, but beneath fire. The Air purpose in nature is to make things finer, lighter, and more delicate and thus more able to ascend into higher spheres.
In the 4 elements, AIR will be represented by glass blown spheres that Abate Zanetti school is making for us in their laboratories.
Abate Zanetti is a center of excellence for manufacturing, research, and experimentation of state-of-the-art glassmaking design and artistic production in Venice.
As a novel glass forming technique created in the middle of the 1st century BC, glassblowing exploited a working property of glass that was previously unknown to the glassworkers: inflation, which is the expansion of a molten blob of glass by introducing a small amount of air to it. That is based on the liquid structure of glass where the atoms are held together by strong chemical bonds in a disordered and random network, therefore molten glass is viscous enough to be blown and gradually hardens as it loses heat. A full range of glassblowing techniques was developed within decades of its invention.
Earth is an element usually situated at the center of our existence. In its nature it is at rest, and because of its inherent weight, all other elements gravitate toward it, however far away they may be.
TERRA DI SIENA
Terra di Siena is an inorganic, natural mineral pigment belonging to the browns and used in painting.
The name attributed to this color originates in a type of soil extracted from a quarry in the Bagnoli di Arcidosso locality, in the territory of Monte Amiata, which was part of the Republic of Siena in the Middle Ages. This quarry, active until the fifties of the twentieth century, produced an inert material that was used as a coloring agent even in ancient times, and which was indifferently called “red earth” “yellow earth” and also “Siena earth”. The popularity of the ” Siena earth” derives from the use that has been made of it in Tuscan art, being mentioned in the main treatises on artistic techniques, from Cennino Cennini to Giorgio Vasari.
Fire is a simple substance, situated higher than the other three elements.
Fire has the power to penetrate and can ride through the element of air. It has the capacity to overcome the coldness of the two cold elements, earth and water, and so creates and maintains harmony among the elements.
Water is a simple substance whose position in nature is exterior to the sphere of the earth and interior to that of air. Water is easily dispersed and assumes any shape without permanency. In the construction of “things,” the addition of water allows the possibility of their being shaped and molded and spread out.