The power of the nib

The Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy celebrates its first anniversary.

“A man’s beauty is in the beauty of his handwriting. And it’s better still when a beautiful handwriting belongs to a man of wisdom,” an Eastern aphorism says. Today beautiful handwriting is reserved for the select few. Pressing the keys and moving the mouse we tend to forget how to use an ordinary ball pen to say nothing of calligrapher’s utensils, such as: brushes, reeds, bird quill, or metal pens. Calligraphy in general is perceived merely as a branch of aesthetics. However, experts believe the interest for the art of beautiful handwriting has seen a recent increase. This belief can be substantiated by the ever-extending collection of the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy.

The guests, arriving by noon on the occasion of the museum’s birthday were greeted by… music. The celebrations were heralded by an impromptu performance of the three calligraphers and artists from South Korea, China, and Russia to Beethoven’s and Mendelssohn’s melodious enchantment. Everything the paper delivered, the spectators saw on a big screen: the effect was mesmerizing. The art of calligraphy demands not only the motion of the hand, but also of the mind, heart, and soul. This opinion is shared by Yuri Koverdyayev, a famous graphic artist, “Calligraphy does have general rules. However, everyone is free to follow them as they please, in compliance with their character and world perception.”

You can contemplate these images ad infinitum as well as compare the samples of different calligraphy schools and traditions: from exquisite Oriental lettering to the Russian Cyrillic Cursive Handwriting following the slanted, geometrical, basilica-style or rigid close lines and curves. The reed pen used to be sharpened to especially suit the chosen style. A 14th century calligraphy manual said, “Kalam is to be sharpened at an angle. And ye should know that the tip of the kalam like thy thumb’s bone be, while Bagdad scribes sharpen it in conformity with a nail’s length.”

The museum’s pride is the newly acquired World Famous Mezuzah listed into the Guinness World Records by Avraham Borshevsky, a renowned Israeli calligrapher and artist. However, the exhibit will be available only in October with the advent of the 2nd International Exhibition of Calligraphy, the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to the art of beautiful handwriting. The Grand Opening featured the first and only handwritten copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Calligraphy on a Wing of a Fly, and collector’s items. A special treat was a draft illustrated handwritten copy of the National Anthem of the Russian Federation made by Yevgeny Drobyazin on commission of Marilena Ferrari-FMR Publishing House, which focuses on VIP-presents. The Russian calligrapher’s text had been illustrated by Barbara Calzolari and presented by Silvio Berlusconi to Dmitry Medvedev at the July G8 summit in Italy. It seems beautiful handwriting is becoming popular at the very top.

Alena Semenova

Source: Kultura (Culture), newspaper

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