Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sansepolcro Italy Marble Tomb

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Continuing my post about the Cattedrale di San Giovanni Evangelista [11-14th century] in Sansepolcro, Italy, here is a look at more of the art inside.

The funeral monument and marble tomb of Abbot Simone Graziani (begun in the 16th century) is carved from marble and is situated on the wall next to a large painting. Not generally a fan of sculptures of horizontal bodies at rest, I nonetheless found the details in the frame surrounding the figure to be quite creative and beautiful. Specifically, I enjoy the combination of bas relief (“flat” sculpture, such as what you see on coins) and high relief sculpture (more in the round but still on a wall).

I also enjoy the combination of animals, human faces, and foliage and other organic elements. I chuckle at the intelligent and somewhat whimsical shape that appears at first glance to be a mathematical symbol or letter in an ancient alphabet only to discover that it is in fact a depiction of the hind legs of an animal. This work is highly decorative and beautiful in its symmetry.

To the right of the altar is a more complicated composition than the main altar itself shows off. With the rows of candles in front, this composition struck me as very well balanced. The painting in the center has a lot of negative space that not only gives the eye a place to rest a bit, but the upward glance of the figure and surrounding circle of faces all lead the eye up to the top. There is an incredible marble carving here of multiple figures ascending up through a domed window.

Seriously, how on Earth did these people LIFT such heavy and lovely pieces to such heights and without damage? These were the days before electricity and all the technology that came from after that time. Incredible what people have accomplished.

I also apologize for my inability to get the light meter to read what I wanted with this zoom lens. Still the art is inspiring, as intended in the church. All of the geometry is perfectly designed to lead your eyes to heaven. Wonderful!

Now, because I am a yin and yang kind of person, I must show something that is not so beautiful, although I wonder if it is a strange sign of love. This next and last image is of a painting that is in disrepair. I find destruction fascinating, perhaps the same way that small critters are confused into inactivity by the hunter for easier catching or a the lure of vampire’s hypnotic stare.

The light brown vertical lines you see are cracked areas in which the paint has fallen off… they connect up with the larger brown areas at the bottom. I suspect that the cracks have more to do with places in which either the canvas or the wood has been joined or folded or warped. (I forgot to look at this closely enough to get the details of this painting. Oops!)
But I just wonder if the bottom edge is gone for the same reason that many sculptures have details worn off or sport a bright bronze patina on some toes: people reach up to touch a beloved artwork and over many years, the oils from their fingers and the actual touching or rubbing of thousands of hands destroys the work. It is like polishing the worry stone in your pocket, if you will. This was what I meant when I said an act of love earlier. As an artist, I feel complimented that people loved my work enough to touch it out of affection or adoration.

As a side note, it is interesting how the color has faded on the shadow side of the leg in green… and ONLY in the green. Ah, so much to learn!

Today I have earned 48 years old. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I know that I am in the right place and moving in a good direxion. On another, I worry about lost time and late starts (regarding my art mostly). Still, one foot in front of the other and if not now, when? The year just keeps on zipping past. I am on my way to Serbia tomorrow to accompany a friend. It may be a while before I post again. Happy summer to you and thank you for reading my little posts.


Casey Klahn said...

Happy birthday, Kelly! 48 going on 28, in my opinion.

Graziani is an estimable character in Italian art history. Thanks for the closer look here.

Michael Gillespie said...

Happy 48th! if not now, when indeed- I am 65 and am seriously considering Going to Florence Academy next Spring for their one week portrait workshop.

Kelly Borsheim said...

Thank you, Casey! You know more art history than I do... but then I am horrible with names, labels, categories, etc. I just try to remember ideas or concepts. I am glad you enjoyed the detail shots of the marble tomb.

And Michael, thank you for sharing your inspiring story! FAA is said to have a good program and one week in Firenze will simply make you want more.

Thanks again, guys, on the birthday wishes!

Anonymous said...

“Exploring our Internal Thoughts and How our Bodies Express Them” - Kelly, you are also a fine poetess.

Gene P. said...

Just in case I forgot; Happy Birthday Kelly !!!
Keep doing what you do and you will stay young for at least 50 more years.
We are almost the same age, except for 20 years..
I save your posts to catch up when I have a minute. Always very enjoyable to learn and share your experiences. Don't make yourself short, you do great writing, Art, and many other things, I'm certain.
Gene P.