donderdag 12 maart 2015

The Fine Art of Writing

Writing is a true art. Some books are centuries old but are still well read, like The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia) by the Italian Dante Alighieri about a fictional journey to the hereafter. The book is around six hundred years old but it is still one of the most impressive books in world literature.  
The Italians have understood the fine art of many things. When one says Italy, one thinks immediately la dolce vita, the sweet life. It means the art of living. But also the art of art, culture, cuisine and what is less known: the art of fine writing and the producing of pens.
Montegrappa which is originally known as ELMO is an Italian brand for pens of which its history shows how much it is interlaced with Italy. It was founded in 1912 and next year it will exist a century. Officially they are Manifattura pennini d’oro e penne stilografiche which means they produce golden dip pens and fountain pens. The “Italianness” lies at the heart of their tradition and is a moving force behind the philosophy of this brand of pens.
The year it was founded times were restless in Italy. It was two years before the First World War broke out but internally there was already a wave of urbanization with the accompanying changes in the Italian work culture. People started working less on the land and less with their hands and more with their heads. Montegrappa anticipated these changes perfectly.
The location Bassano del Grappa where Montegrappa has its residence, was very strategic. During the First World War soldiers were stationed there and these soldiers wrote letters to the home front with Montegrappa pens. Two of the most famous war correspondents from that time who also wrote with those pens are Ernest Hemingway and John dos Passos who both made world fame with their novels.
In the thirties of the last century the company grew. The fountain pen replaced the dip pen but Montegrappa kept focusing on quality and uniqueness which displays its special character. The production of pens for them has never been a question of bulk but always a question of refined art and artistry. Their fountain pen(models) are true collector’s items. The names of these collections are a feast for the ears such as Thrilla in Manila, Genio Creativo or Piccola. Although their “Italianness” is emphasized, they are not hesitating to devoting their collections to icons in the world culture such as Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali or Paulo Coelho.

Great leaders in Italy signed their documents with their Montegrappas. Also outside of Italy the pens have a magnificent name. Even nowadays the top people write with these pens. Boris Jeltsin had a pen from the collection Dragon which he gave to his successor Putin with which he symbolically handed the power over Russia to him. The current president Medvedev uses the model Montegrappa Extra 1930 to sign his documents.
On the website of Montegrappa ( you won’t even know where to look because all the designs are delightful to the eye. They are not pens anymore but true objects of art. Some of them seem like a sceptre, ornamented with gold and silver. Montegrappa and its designs symbolize the art of fine writing and Italian artistry.

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