Welcome! See Italy (and more) through the eyes of an artist: American sculptor and painter Kelly Borsheim creates her life and art in Italy and shares her adventures in travel and art with you. Come on along, please and Visit her fine art work online at: www.BorsheimArts.com
Italy, the Museo dell’Opera, which
houses the treasures of the famous Florence Cathedral (or Duomo in Italian), recently
received a facelift. You may now view more
of the art and in a better context with how it was all intended to be viewed in
the first place. In some cases, you are
viewing the original sculptures
since pollution was causing too much harm to it in its original position on the
Duomo or the nearby Baptistry.
often struck by how the quality of the figurative art changed back and forth
over the centuries, as well as how much was accomplished only with hand-powered
tools. But then, they likely had other
technical abilities of which I am simply unaware. Still, did we lose the skills after Greek art
or did artists just make a point to change styles? I have heard that the current beliefs of the
church often affected how representational artists were allowed to portray the
human figure. And churches tended to be
the only ones wealthy enough to pay for difficult-to-create art.
surprised to see this marvelous piece of stone carving among some fragments on
exhibit from the Porta della Mandorla (the Almond Door). It turns out that this relief figure of the
Man of Sorrows Christ that decorates an arch border is by Donatello! It is funny seeing his work paired with
obviously less stunning carved figures.
Here is a part of the museum’s own description:
richly decorated side-door of the Cathedral, that to the northeast call the Porta della Mandorla (Almond Door), was realised
[sic] by various sculptors in the years 1391-1422. The components shown here, from the archivolt
and lateral pilasters, belong to the years 1404-1409 and illustrate the range
of styles used in the early 15th-century Florence, with some of the
figures still gothic while others proclaim a reborn interest in Greco-Roman
sculpture. The Suffering Christ from the door’s keystone, a work by the young
Donatello, appears to be an early study for that artist’s wood crucifix in the
Basilica of Santa Croce.”
Note that the Italians, as I suspect most Europeans,
used British English more than American [hence the “sic” above.]
Note also that another sign under the arranged
fragments titles the work by Donatello as “Rilievo con Cristo Vir dolorum”
(Relief with Christ Man of Sorrows).
1404-1409. Perhaps the two titles
is simply a matter of different translations.
In the image of the architectural drawing, the blue
section of the pointed arch above the doorway, labeled F, is where the
Donatello and gothic fragments originally resided.
Enjoy! I am
happy to report that I am back to painting and drawing daily in my new
temporary home. Most of my things are
still in storage until my real home is ready, but I have taken what I need from
there and am working away with lovely views and birds singing daily. Sanity is starting to return.
birthday to my first brother, Paul!
~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor,
painter, writer, teacher