What can a contemporary illustrator and an historic herbal liqueur have in common? Well, if they are Lorenzo Petrantoni and Amaro Montenegro they share a very strong common trait, their unmistakable uniqueness.

Petrantoni, born in Genoa and graduated in graphic design in Milan, expresses his art by composing ‘encyclopedic collages’, as he defines them, of the iconography of vintage books – particularly nineteenth-century French dictionaries. From these publications he draws the images and words that get arranged according to original and modern schemes to create graphic compositions with a great visual impact, in which each element remains, to a close look, legible in all its minute accuracy. His illustrations appeared in Newsweek, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and he has work for many big brands as well. The latest being Amaro Montenegro.

Amaro Montenegro is a traditional herbal liqueur distilled in Bologna from no less than 40 botanicals. It was first produced in 1885 by Stanislao Cobianchi, who named his drink after Princess Elena of Montenegro. Cobianchi traveled from continent to continent collecting 40 between rinds, woods, seeds, rhizomes, flowers, fruits, citrus peels, roots, stems, and leaves, in order to create an unprecedented combination of flavors and aromas. Once they reach the herbalist’s workshop, the botanicals undergo 3 different forms of extraction: boiling, maceration and distillation.

The medley of these two peculiar expressions of Italian creativity resulted in the three artistic installations by Petrantoni that can currently be appreciated in New York. The street art works, that aim to represent the 40 aromatic notes of Montenegro through Petrantoni’s encyclopedic collages, will be  exposed at the junction of Great Jones St. and Bowery (NoHo), between Wyckoff Ave. and Jefferson St. (Bushwick) and at the corner of Wythe and 10th (Williamsburg) until New Year’s Eve.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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