Friday, September 19, 2014

Crucified Christ on a Pulley Chiesa di Sant’Agata nel Carmine Bergamo

Dear Art-loving friend,
      My first ten years of life aside, I do believe that I have never spent so much time inside a church as I do while living in Italy.  But hey, there is a LOT of art in churches here!   Each church or even basilica has its own personality, and yet, there are so many similarities.  My friend Susan and I meandered into the Chiesa di Sant’Agata nel Carmine in the Città Alta of Bergamo earlier this month.  It originated in 1391, was renovated in 1730, and contains works from the years in-between.  I must say that it feels odd to no longer be surprised when one enters a church containing such splendor.  In fact, sometimes I think it lessens the impact of the architecture of spaces in other countries.  

     However, I enjoyed the floor, reminding me of the harlequin’s pattern.  The skull and other relics were prominently displayed in one of the side chapels on the left.  Usually relics are not so easily accessible, or as impressive a collection in one space.  Things like this always leave me with more questions than answers.  If these are things of the spirit, are the spirits still connected with those of the physical or is it just that WE need to have this connection?  That sort of thing I ponder.

And, this may be the only church in which I found a crucified Christ on a pulley system.  Um, is that for some fun on Halloween (or better, All Saints’ Day)? 

     Well, I am still writing, so I suppose that lightning has missed me again.  It has always perplexed me that the Christian religion speaks freely and demonstrates in her temples most aspects of humanity, such as violence and death, and yes, reverence and faith too.  But rarely do we ever see images or artworks of sex, our most physical way of expressing love.  How often do we even see hand-holding or hugs?  Or is it just that the love of parent [or authority figure] without much physical expression, outside of the suckling from a feeding breast, is so much more important than physical love between consenting adults or even open affection?  I am not suggesting really that churches become filled with images of sexual playfulness or adventures [although I am certainly not opposed to it if beautifully done], but I do grow weary of the prevalent violent images.

      Now, on some lighter notes.  We saw fried and sugared polenta cakes in a bakery [with marzipan below them].  I have not tried this, but I imagine it is decadently delicious.  Grease and sugar, mainstays the world over. Traffic and dogs… Dogs in bakeries… Love it all.  And yes, by all means, encourage them to use the urinals… Men, too, please.

Happy birthday, dear Lei! This is a big one, no? I feel it too.  We still have much to accomplish!

     This is another one of those “lost in translation” situations.  “non pretendiamo tanto . . . ma almeno nei giardini”  Google translates this sign as “do not claim as much. . . but at least in the gardens  I can think of lots of ways to interpret, but you decide.  I must study more Italian language!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bergamo Città Alta Italia Italy

Dear Art-loving friend,
Each time I meet an artist, I ask, “So where is the place for artists now?”  Every single time I heard, “Berlin.”  So, my friend Susan and I went up there recently to check it out.  I will write about that experience in a future post.  Today, I want to tell you about our visit to Bergamo, Italia, on the way home.  There is currently an outdoor installation of color and lots of flowering plants and trees in the “Città Alta”  (the upper city), in this case the original part of the city that oversees the lower sections and is still outlined by its ancient walls.

I was delighted to see so much color in Bergamo’s Piazza Vecchia, with the Italian version of “Astro Turf” covering most surfaces and creating above-ground colorful planters for all kinds of herbs and flowering plants.  My traveling companion said she got a headache from it … too much.  But I loved it and thought it fun.

Susan and I meandered on past the Fontana Contarini and through the piazza to see the Basilica and Duomo of Santa Maria MaggioreIn front of this and to the right is the building with the round window called the Cappella Colleoni.  I love how they use the different soft colors of stone together in such elaborate and dimensional designs combined with sculpture.   The metal fence combining Nature and architecture make a lovely frame for the peach and grey stone building across Piazza Duomo.

I share this image of the nearby Torre Civica because I was amused by how the thin clouds appear to be escaping from the “chimney” tower.

I enjoyed this little taste of Bergamo and hope to get another opportunity to visit this small city again.  The art and garden installation you see here continues through 30 September.  Enjoy!