Limestone –
Brač’s White Gold

Arte 2020 – Geo Report 2020

Limestone from the Croatian island of Brač was for many centuries one of the most sought-after building materials in Europe – palaces and cathedrals were created from the noble white stone. There is a long tradition of training stonemasons, and many of them are still highly regarded as artists, especially because of their sculptures. The craft profession had lost its radiance in the meantime, but this is now changing. This very special training is on the rise again, also for young women.

Script and Direction: Maria-Christina Degen
Camera: René Dame
Sound: Vivien Vogel
Editor: Felix Waury
Production Assistants: Susann Levenig, Kerstin Walz
Producer: Tino Schroedl, Viviane Schmidt-Gaster, Tilo Hoffmann
Editing: Arte / Geo
Producer: Theodor Baltz / Medienkontor Movie GmbH

Photo credits Maria-Christina Degen except:

1) René Dame
2) René Dame
4) Vivien Vogel
8) Zoran Kojdic
12) Zoran Kojdic
17) René Dame

The 16-year-old Vanessa Martinić is working on an imposing amphora made of limestone. It is one of the tasks that she has to complete during her apprenticeship as a stonemason technician. Vanessa is the only girl among the seven apprentices in her class. It is her dream job, because here she can fully live out her artistic streak.

Limestone has inspired artists and sculptors for centuries and is used as a building material for impressive palaces and churches. Limestone from the Adriatic island is also used in the White House in Washington and in the Berlin Reichstag. In addition, many artists on Brač experiment with the raw material, creating sculptures and modern sculptures that they sell in galleries. The Jakšić family is one of them. All members of the family are artists, grandmother Ida designs and even makes clothes from limestone flakes – it couldn’t be more extraordinary. No wonder that a well-known musician has now got the taste and wants to appear in this sensational outfit.

Steinmetz trainee Vanessa is also working on it. The re-awakened interest in the time-honored limestone tradition is important for the island of Brač – this is the only way for this proud export and cultural asset to have a future.