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MICHELUCCI, Giuseppe (Pistoia 1834 - 1910)

, Giuseppe. – He was born in Pistoia September 28, 1834 by Gaetano and Maddalena Marini. For the poor economic conditions of the family he could not attend school and at the age of seven he began working as an apprentice at some workshops where they worked iron and copper.

From 1846 to 1849, he went to Follonica with his father to practice workshop at the local iron foundry where there was an experimental department of art foundry with the guidance of technicians such as Alessandro Manetti, Raffaele Sivieri and Carlo Reishammer, where they seize the new opportunities of work related to the increasing use of iron and cast iron in architecture both in building and urban design, encouraged by the Grand Duke Leopold II.

In 1864 he went back to Pistoia to take over the workshop of Palandri. At the death of the holder (1871) he took over the business, transferring later in the conservatory of orphans who, as a bequest of its promoter, the philanthropist Niccolò Puccini, had been organized since 1865 on the basis of a series of workshops for professional  training. The link with the Conservatory of orphans was maintained until 1907, but since 1884, the firm Michelucci and son chose to transfer most of its business in a building near Porta Barriera, outside the city walls.

M. had the collaboration with some promising exponents of Tuscan architecture such as Alfredo Melani from Pistoia and Marco Treves and Riccardo Mazzanti both from Florence. The latter in particular, editor of “Ricordi di Architettura”, arranged to raise awareness in the magazine some of the most significant works carried out by the M. company, such as wrought iron balustrade for the high altar of the cathedral of Pistoia (1880), the structure glass and iron for the large greenhouse (tepidarium) designed by Giacomo Roster for horticulture garden of Florence (1880), and, in the Tuscan capital, the gate for the Orthodox Church (1900),the entrance gate of the Ministry of War in Rome (1886), as well as some works commissioned by Prince Piero Strozzi at the renovation (years 1886-89) of his famous Florentine palace.

In 1891, the M. created one of the most challenging works, the fusion of street lamps for the monument to the Freedom of Bahia in Brazil. Among the works of the last period is reminiscent of the railings and large skylight of the new headquarters of the” Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia”, opened in July 1905 in the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele III. In the early twentieth century, he followed to the new trends in architecture and applied arts, such as Art Nouveau. The opportunities in this field were offered by the collaboration with the Florentine architect Giovanni Michelazzi (1906-07).

He received numerous awards won at various exhibitions both in Italy and abroad (France, Spain, USA) as well as the appointment “Cavaliere del Lavoro” (1904).

The M. remained until the end to the guide of his firm which, at the time of maximum expansion in the mid-nineties, had 60 employees. He could’nt retired because of  untimely death in 1906 of the eldest son Bartolomeo (born in 1861) at the age of twenty.

The M. died in Pistoia on March 30, 1910.

Works: Streetlamp  on Pistoia railwaystation


 “Le Officine Michelucci e l’industria artistica del ferro in Toscana (1834-1918”), a cura di M. Dezzi Bardeschi, Pistoia 1981.

“Annali di statistica, LV (1895)”, p. 39 e in G. Chelucci,

 “Architettura e arti decorative a Pistoia tra eclettismo e modernità”, in Storia di Pistoia, IV, Nell’età delle rivoluzioni 1777-1940, a cura di G. Petracchi, Firenze 2000, pp. 669-671, 679 s., 683.

from the biography by M. Lungonelli