The Bottega of Michele Buonincontro

Tradition wins the challenge.

©Bottega Michele Buonincontro
©Bottega Michele Buonincontro

As a child, as soon as he left school, Michele went to his father’s workshop, eager to go and play with clay dough. Modeling this magical material fascinated him so much that he decided to deepen this activity by studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Napoli.

Today Michele is an esteemed artist. He realizes many masterpieces with satisfaction and lives on this. With his art he supports his beloved family. His father was a skilled craftsman who, in his workshop, created figurines for presepe (cribs) on behalf of third parties. Indeed he used to sell his pieces to the shops of San Gregorio Armeno and to other shops. He never had his own shop to sell his works. At the end of the 80s Michele accepted the challenge of setting up his own shop where to sell his masterpieces and to continue the tradition. His project was finally realized during the 2000.

M.B. “Despite the initial adversities, I accepted the challenge that I have overcome over the years. Today the Bottega has more than 20 years of history and gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

That child who used to play with clay now is a man who lives for his wife and his children and is dedicated and concentrated on his works. This is an activity that relaxes him. Michele is a Neapolitan d.o.c.. He was born in Napoli where he also lives.

M.B. “Napoli represents everything to me. It is my city and my pride. Everything about Napoli inspires me both in my job and in my life. Being Neapolitan makes my work more creative”.

It is known that Neapolitans have an edge in terms of inventiveness and creativity. In Napoli, given our past and present history, we must always reinvent ourselves to move forward, to be able to survive any adversity. It is said that in Napoli we are skilled in the “arte dell’arrangiarsi” (the art of making it work for us), someone could translate it as a kind of resilience. However it is the art of transforming the bad in good!

©Bottega Michele Buonincontro
©Bottega Michele Buonincontro

M.B.”Art can save the world because those who live and produce art have an edge over others because they have the ability to see things that others cannot see. Especially those who work with their hands. As an artist, working with my hands it is important because let me see that by modeling I can transform a thought in something real.”

Through his activity Michele hands down the radition. His grandfather passed it on to his father and his father to him. In the same way he passes it on to his own children and he hopes, one day, to be able to do it with his grandchildren too.

©Bottega Michele Buonincontro
©Bottega Michele Buonincontro

He is very fond of the Neapolitan cultural tradition and the passing of the baton in the art of creating pastori (figurine). Figures and statuettes are born at Michele Buonincontro’s workshop.Michele also builds presepi but prefers figurines and statuettes. Modeling clay is what he loves more.His pieces are masterpieces made of terracotta which is born as clay.In fact, in its pure state, clay is modeled by hand, then dried at room temperature and then cooked at 960 degrees in the oven. And here it becomes the red terracotta that we all know. Glass eyes are added to the terracotta parts which are then colored with oil paint. Subsequently they are mounted on a body of tow and wire together with hands and feet. Finally they are dressed in the traditional costumes of the 18th century. Michele’s pieces are all handmade and created with the mastery of an ancient tradition supported by a long experience. Each piece is a masterpiece that expresses its uniqueness.

The Bottega (workshop) of Michele Buonincontro is located in San Gregorio Armeno n.1 and is open 365 days a year, precisely to give those who want to visit, or buy, the opportunity to do so even outside the Christmas period. In fact, tourists always flock to it as if it is a museum.

©Bottega Michele Buonincontro
©Bottega Michele Buonincontro

MB “San Gregorio Armeno is a fascinating place both for Neapolitans and for tourists due to its uniqueness. When you walk this road, even tourists say that there is a strong energy. In fact, not only at Christmas but also during the year you can appreciate the things concerning the art of the presepi (cribs), superstition, and now also the depictions of contemporary characters, such as politicians, sportsmen and television personalities.”

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Bottega Michele Buonincontro

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