Who is Malleus?
Enrico Ragni, aka Malleus, pseudonym adopted at 17 years of age, was born in Fabriano on September 3, 1953. He founded the Antica Bottega Amanuense in 1988 with the intention of reviving the historical tradition of the art of manuscripts and illuminated codes as in the ancient scriptorium of the scribe monks. But he arrives at the decision to found a company of such an unusual and niche nature through a multitude of other work experiences, mainly in the music field.
Raised in a very modest family in the small town of Albacina (Fabriano), whose condition determined Enrico’s ingenuity and artistic genius, at the age of 14 he was already a multi-instrumentalist and a self-taught composer using the historical Geloso and decides to pursue a musical career as a teenager.
In 1978, at the age of 25, he became a sound engineer in Venice, registered at SIAE as a composer and opened the first recording studio in the Marche region, from where he worked for over 5 years. With the growing requests for collaboration from musicians in the area and beyond, and the increase in the amount of work, in 1983 Màlleus moved to the Villa di Colloredo-Mels in Recanati.
This was an important step not only in terms of location but above all for the acquisition of new recording equipment and for technological advancement, making it one of the most sophisticated recording studios of the time. This new set-up is further enhanced with the arrival of the FAIRLIGHT CMI series III computer in 1985 with which Malleus is one of the only ones in Italy to sample and archive over 40,000 sounds.
A career in music
In the 1980s, a period of expansion and intense artistic metamorphosis began for Enrico, founding a record label (M.C.M) with which he recorded and released two albums: Opera Prima and Opeta Total.
At the same time, together with maestro Roberto Cacciapaglia, Malleus is involved in the creation of some famous soundtracks for commercials: Pagine Gialle, Boario, Danone, Lancia Thema, Uliveto, Ferrari, to name a few.
He also collaborates in the setting up of Musicultura festival alongside Piero Cesanelli and Vanni Pierini and participates in the recordings of the albums of Sergio Endrigo, RenatoZero, Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari, Chet Baker, Gianni Mazza, Giannandrea Gazzola, Vittorio Gassman, Arnoldo Foà, Giorgio Albertazzi, the ” La Macina ”, The Gang, and many others.
1986 is a painful year for Malleus due to the premature death of his brother, marking a moment of inner crisis also triggered by the strong changes within the music industry of the time with the advent of digital recording.
Theref0re after a period of reflection, Malleus decides to undertake a different professional direction and to start a new chapter of his career by focusing everything on another of his great passions: handwritten calligraphy.
Malleus & il Computer FAIRLIGHT CMI nel 1985. Foto by Danilo Maceratesi
Chet Baker & Malleus nel 1988
“I never waited for what others said
to decide what to do with my life”
The Passion for Amanuensis Art
Rediscovering one of the things that excited him most as a boy, Malleus decides to turn his passion for handwriting into something more.
In 1987 he began to deepen and develop the techniques of the trade by attending Calligraphy courses with the greatest international masters including James Cloug, Donald Jackson (the official calligrapher of Buckingham Palace), Thomas Ingmire, Christopher Haanes and Giovanni De Faccio. He also became a master engraver under the guidance of Michael Harvey.
In 1988, the Antica Bottega Amanuense was born and Malleus began a more unique than rare undertaking: bringing handwritten Calligraphy back into fashion. This is how in the 90s, the Bottega becomes the official supplier of all the major Italian universities and re-invents the graphics of the degrees we know today.
Calligraphy represents for Enrico not only a professional turning point but above all a life mission to preserve this extraordinary graphic tradition which is not only beautiful to look at, but represents one of the disciplines at the base of our culture.
It is also important to remember, especially in this modern era in which digitization is becoming increasingly popular, calligraphy is an essential exercise in the cognitive development phase of children.
But the same can be said of handwriting in adulthood: writing one’s thoughts in beautiful calligraphy almost becomes a means for inner research, providing the necessary slowness to get back in touch with the soul.
Malleus is one of the first members of the Italian Calligraphic Association founded in 1991, sharing a passion for the protection and promotion of handwriting.
Read more about Bottega Amanuense on: www.amanuensi.com
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