A 79-year-old man in Vermont is a 20th-generation Italian stone carver, and he's the last one left

Giuliano Cecchinelli, a classically trained sculptor, is the sole remaining Italian stone carver in Barre, Vermont. He hails from a long lineage of craftsmen, with 20 generations of stone carvers in his family. Recently, Vermont Public ran a fascinating profile on the 79-year-old, highlighting his incredible talent and the rich history of stone carvers that preceded him.

"See, they're all deformed, see each finger, they're all different, there are calluses all over," he says. "But I mean what do you expect, you know?"

These hands have been carving stone for almost 70 years.

He started as a boy in Carrara, Italy, a city on the Tuscan coast famous for its marble. Michelangelo himself used to source stone there…

At age 11, Giuliano went to art school. For his first assignment in sculpture, he was told to make a cube.

"They give you a rough piece of stone, so naturally you get two straight edges, and then you make a parallel," he says. "Then once you got one plane, you take a measurement, and you mark it, then you make a square. Make your surface, and then you understand the planes."

He says he had a natural ability to see these planes, the invisible grid that governs the laws of perspective, proportion, light and shadow.

"In art school, I had a professor and he said, 'I wish I had your eyes,'" Giuliano says.

Be sure to head over to Vermont Public to read the entire piece, it's really terrific. Also, there are a bunch of great photos on the page, including one of him standing next his tombstone, which he carved himself, naturally. (via Kottke)