Alceo Quieti

It was announced this week, on the Stamp Magazine forum, that the Italian engraver Alceo Quieti had died earlier this month, at the age of 92. The local newspaper of Urbino, where Quieti was born, featured an article on the man, which I will roughly translate and abridge for you here.

Alceo Quieti, born in Urbino in 1922, has died on Sunday, March 9, in Savigno, in the Province of Bologna, where he had moved. Quieti studied at the Instituto d'Arte where he specialised in woodcutting, with the master Umberto Franci being his teacher.

From 1948, Quieti worked at the Printing Office and the State Mint where he was employed as an engraver of both banknotes and stamps. In 1963, Quieti was asked by the Bank of Italy to become involved in the process of creating new banknotes. This collaboration eventually led to the issue of the famous 500 lire 'Mercury' note. Quieti also engraved bankotes for Peru.

(c) Urbino e Provincia
With his postage stamp engravings, Quieti translated the works of masters such as Mantegna, Paolo Uccello and Michelangelo. In 1959 he received a gold medal for 'Best Stamp of the Year'.

His pupil, Bruno Cerboni Baiardi, and others remember him as a calm, friendly and conscientious man. In his work he was careful and precise, yet not afraid to be liberating and to fly high. He loved (technical) innovations and always tried to make them their own and change the technical into something personal and creative.

Being both strong and sensitive, he could express himself best in his art, which never lost its sense of reality but was a pure flight of wonderful and poetic fancy.

Perhaps Volpini sums it up best: looking at Quieti's work, we sense this secret layer of poetry which we have done away with in our busy daily lives, but after which we all hunger still.

May he rest in peace.