Friday, October 19, 2007
I would like to introduce you to a new small painting on wood. Her title is “Pizza in Munich.” Yes, perhaps this is a silly title, and I am open to suggestions. I visited München in September 2006, on my way from Prague to Florence. While I was only there for a 6-hour layover from the train, it was Oktoberfest time and I enjoyed my brief visit.
While sightseeing, I was struck by the image created by this young couple, obvious travelers with backpack in plain sight, taking a dinner break in front of a charming fountain that emphasized their beautiful forms.
Painted in sepia tones, this painting on a panel measures 24 x 18 cm (9.5 x 7 inches). She is available for (US) $180, with a $20 shipping fee (I will ship her directly from Florence, Italy. If interested, please just contact me (e-mail is best) and we will work it out.
And again – thank you so much for reading and for your interest in my work!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I rarely feel that I do anything well enough. Portraits are certainly no exception. So, I decided to use some of my leftover pastels from the madonnara (street painting in Italy) work that I described to you a couple of times ago and work to improve my skills – with faces and with color.
Pictured here is a pastel sketch that I did of a beauty named Maria. The drawing is about 40 x 25 cm. The first night that I applied color to my pencil sketch on the dark grey paper, I was only equipped with a small box of “earthtone” pastels. This meant lots of the orange family – from yellow to brown.
The work-in-progress image of my drawing is rather brutta (ugly). High contrast, garish colors, and no blending of tones. More typical of the “note-taking” that I do while I have the model in front of me.
I was thinking that the final work looked not as good as I expected of myself – until I came home, looked at the other images, and saw my actual progress. That said, I did learn that generally speaking, it is the lights that should have the chroma (color) in them, while the darks play it down, in the same manner that a backup singer supports and allows the star to take the stage.
Had I started with a larger box of pastels, with a broader range of pigments, I might have done this correctly. As it was, I first started using my pinks and cooler colors to tone down the large oranges of the lights. I did later work in the dark areas, but perhaps they still have more color than the light areas.
Maria’s hair was blue and red, but I think I was lost on how to handle this. I did enjoy adding the blue (first) to the black (compressed charcoal) – reminiscent of the comic book Wonder Woman. Ha ha.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
While in Siena on Saturday, Hafiza and I also visited the Santuario di Santa Caterina and the museo archeologico inside S. Maria della Scala. If you first pay to enter the exhibit “Nel segno di Ingres” nearby, you will receive a ridotto (reduced) price ticket to enter this building.
Santa Maria della Scalla was one of the first hospitals in Europe. A cobbler named Sorore who died in 898 is its mythical founder. The hospital was not only an important economic resource for Siena, but also became one of the city’s most important centers for art. It remained a working hospital until only some years ago when the restoration project began and has been used for various exhibits since then. It is an impressive building.
The art inside was not particularly moving, although I did rather enjoy the fresco of several babies climbing up a ladder that was leaning against an archway in a church. Above the arch was a fresco of a mother that appeared to come to life so she could welcome these babies.
The museo archeologico has been set up in the labyrinths underneath the chapels in Santa Maria della Scala. This is where I took the photos you see. One hallway housed many old stone urns. They were rather funny reclining/half-seated figures on the lids, many with large heads. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the tunnels. And the second image of a vase – well, I not only liked the arrogant figure depicted, but also the shadow shapes around the vase. I hope you do as well.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Yesterday, I went with my friend Hafiza to Siena, a popular town in Tuscany, Italy. We went to see the mostra (exhibit) titled
"Nel segno di Ingres [in the sign/mark of Ingres]
Luigi Mussini e l'Accademia in Europa nell'Ottocento"
It was held at the Complesso Muscale in the Santa Maria della Scala (Saint Mary of the Stairs), right across from the "Zebra Castle" as my friend Michael Graziano once referred to the alternating dark green and white bars of marble that make up Siena's Duomo.
The exhibit wanted to show the influence of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres on the work of Senese painter Luigi Mussini and other artists, as well as depict some of the dialogue between 'purism' and 'naturalism' in European art during this time period. It is quite good. Here is a list of my favorite works in questa mostra (please realize that these titles are in Italian and you may know their titles by other names):
*"Abele Morente" 1842 by Giovanni Dupré
Disegno su carta (drawing on paper).
This work is absolutely fantastic! Subtle white pencil marks in this drawing on a mid-toned paper of the reclining arched figure of the dying Abel made one want to reach out and touch the figure.
Property of the Uffizi in Firenze.
*“Ulisse riconosciuto dalla sua Nutrice” 1849 by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
(‘Ulysses recognized by his nurse’, upon his return from Troy)
If I could have located an image of this incredible painting that is on loan from La Rochelle Musée des Beaux Arts de La Rochelle (I assume in France), I would explain to you how intelligent and magnificent the composition is! Can anyone locate an image of this artwork "Ulysses Recognized by his Nurse" by Bouguereau for me?
*“La Riconoscenza” 1853-4; marble sculpture by Giovanni Dupré
riconoscere = to recognize or to admit, acknowledge
Private collection – a beautiful seated woman holding a broken chain in front of her knees. Delicate and shown with lovely lighting!
*“La carità educatrice” 1817-1835; marble sculpture by Lorenzo Bartolini
This sculpture depicts a mother with one child standing by her feet while she holds a baby against her body. The way the baby’s cheek is pushed against her shoulder, with his fingers close by and while one foot dangles away from her lower arm are just two examples of how magnificently carved this sculpture is.
*“Amore in agguato” 1854-58; marble sculpture by Lorenzo Bartolini
The title of this marble of a seated and resting Cupid figure was translated into “Love Lying in Wait” for the exhibit, but my dictionary says that agguato means a more daring ‘trap’ or ‘ambush.’
And I enjoyed the dramatic lighting on two paintings: Alessandro Franchi’s “Trasporto di Santo Stefano” 1864-8 and Cesare Maccari’s “Un episodio della vita di Fabiola” 1870.
Here is a link to the site of La Rochelle Musée des Beaux Arts de La Rochelle (but it only shows the painting in a bizarre, highly foreshortened view):
Thank you also to my friend, geologist Dr. Fabio Biselli who explained to me that mostro means 'monster.' Ah the difference one vowel can make! However, it is my spoken confusion around kind people that enables me to refine my Italian vocabulary and grammar. Trying is learning.
Oh – this exhibit “ Nel segno di Ingres” continues through to 6 January 2008. I highly recommend it – and relaxing Siena.
To learn more about this exhibit (although the text is in Italian, you may click on the Babelfish link on the top right of this page to attempt a translation), click here: