Thursday, May 7, 2015

Foundation Salvatore Romano Florence Italy



Dear Art Lover,
Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy glass window

     After another delicious meal at the Osteria Santo Spirito on La Notte Bianca in Florence, I was surprised to see a door open beside the Basilica di Santo Spirito.  In all the years that I lived in that neighborhood, I had not seen that door open.  [But to be fair, I am not often outside of my home studio during the day.]  So, my friend and I ventured inside.  The museum, the MVSEI CIVICI FIORENTINI to be exact, was free that night because of all of the festivities.  And the staff did say that the building was under restoration for about the time that I lived in the zona Santo Spirito.

     This is the home of The Salvatore Romano Foundation (Fondazione Salvatore Romano) and the building is called the Old Santo Spirito Refectory.  Salvatore Romano [1875-1955], an antiques dealer who started off in Napoli (Naples), donated about 70 art objects, mostly stone, for permanent exhibition here in Florence in the memory of his father.  

     Salvatore was the son of a ship owner and sea captain.  He went to Genoa to study naval engineering and discovered his interest in art objects.  He began to deal in violins after returning to Naples and later brought them to Florence, the then favored city for museum directors and foreign collectors.  In the early 1920s, he moved to Florence.

     He branched out into all sorts of antiques, but ended up favoring sculpture, particularly stone.  He traveled widely throughout Italy to acquire the objects from their places of origin and he became known for leaving them as he found them, instead of restoring them.  Many of his acquisitions are now housed in important museums in Europe and America.

     As you can see from my images of my visit, there are many medieval stone pieces in this collection and by his will, they must remain here.  He even arranged most of the pieces himself, as director of his own museum until his death.  He is also entombed in the Refectory.

     The building itself was constructed by the Friars of Saint Augustine in the latter half of the 13th century.  The friars ate their meals here and the building was somehow spared when the church was destroyed by fire. It is believed to have fallen into disuse by the 16th century and was rebuilt.  By the 19th century, there was a large hole in the wall [today filled in], which explains the loss of the lower parts of the grand fresco I show you in my images.  

Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy
So, I ask you, "What is the man in the white plaster seeing?"
Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy fresco
Fresco by Andrea di Cione (Orcagna) and his brother Nardo
  
     This refectory and the one in Santa Croce are the oldest Florentine refectories decorated with a Crucifiction scene, as well as a scene of The Last Supper.  The Santo Spirito fresco was created by Andrea di Cione, aka Orcagna, with his brother Nardo.  The dates are likely between 1360 and 1366.  A coat of arms included in the fresco tell us that the family of Cambi di Napoleone commissioned the work.

    The Santo Spirito complex became a part of the Italian State in 1866 and the refectory was given to the city of Florence.  In 1894, the sculptor Raffaello Romanelli leased the space to house his plaster models and used it as a workshop.  After he died, the idea of a museum was born.  The fresco was restored by Amedeo Benini and his sons.  Restoration of the refectory started in 1936 and ended sometime between 1941 and 1944.  It surprised me to read that since Florence was bombed a lot by the Germans during WWII.   

     Romanelli Studios still exist on nearby Borgo San Frediano.  The artist’s plaster models were removed from the Refectory to make space for the collection of Salvatore Romano.  Enjoy!

     Happy Birthay, John B! 

Peace,

Kelly

~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher
Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy
Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy

medieval stone carving Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy

Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence ItalySanto Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy
Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy fresco

Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy
Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy
Santo Spirito refectory Salvatore Romano museum Florence Italy tomb


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

La Notte Bianca White Night Florence Italy



a woman hand carves a tiny stone
a woman hand-carves a tiny stone
Dear Art Lover,
     And today is a day that reminds me that I once tried to do something that my childhood fears made me promise myself that I would never do.  Sadly, my fears were realized.  And yet, I appear to still be kicking.  So, I choose to use today as my anniversary to re-evaluate what is most important to my life, remind myself that I can say “no” to distractions, and try to create something worthwhile in the process.
     Allora, while I turn off the computer work and perhaps even the house hunting, I am going to spoil myself silly today by creating art.
     But, hey, you do not need to be down or bored by my post!  So recently, a friend came down to Florence and we put some legs to use, walking all over the city.  I have already shared with you some of the garden images.  Here are some from the arts and crafts fair happening at the Fortezza da Basso (what one friend calls the “Ethnic Fair” since there is one floor of non-Italian hand-made creations of all types).  


Florence Italy Fortezza da Basso
Furniture Exhibition [Design] at Fortezza da Basso

     Later, we walked around to visit a friend’s gallery and wandered around various piazzas because it was La Notte Bianca, the White Night [always 30 April for Florence].  In recent years past, this has been a night of spettacoli, light shows, concerts, and more. This year it was way stripped back and very little was happening that we could see.  This may have been related to the big Mafia-involved scandal that was Milano Expo 2015.  I suspect that a lot of regular citizens lost a lot of money, but perhaps so did the city governments.  But that is another story . . . and not so pretty.

Peace,

Kelly

~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher
Florence Italy La Notte Bianca White Night
A new underground shoppe on Via San Niccolo'  Florence
Florence Italy La Notte Bianca White Night
Peek-a-BOO! 
Florence Italy La Notte Bianca White Night Street art Leonardo da Vinci

Florence Italy La Notte Bianca White Night Italian Composition
Very Italian Composition :-)

Florence Italy La Notte Bianca White Night Performance Spettacolo
Florence Italy La Notte Bianca White Night Performance Spettacolo
Florence Italy La Notte Bianca White Night Performance Spettacolo


Monday, May 4, 2015

Flowers from Florence For Rudy



Dear Art Lover,

     Today is the birthday of a lady I admire very much: Audrey Hepburn.  Not just a beauty, but a generosity of spirit with a grace and gentleness I could never hope to match.

     However, it is also the birthday of several friends [Lisa, Hilary, ].  But today I want to give a shout out to “my kid” Rudy Sanchez in Austin, Texas.  He is now 35 years old (or as the Italians would say, he HAS 35 years).  You taught me so much, Rudy, and I always wished that I could have done more for you. 

Happy 35th Birthday, Rudy!  

Florence Italy Osteria Santo Spirito torta cheesecake
Torta for TWO !  Cheesecake from Osteria Santo Spirito. mmm


     Because you are doing so well creating city gardens for the people in central Texas, I want to send you some image of flowers, sculpture, and more from my beloved city in Italia.  I wish you could have actually tasted this cheesecake from Osteria Santo Spirito with me.  It was nothing short of yummy!  [a little bird told me so. Hahaha]

Florence Italy Osteria Santo Spirito hungry wrenFlorence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens

      Incidentally, the crew of Ron Howard with actor Tom Hanks, among many others, are filming in Florence now on another of the Dan Brown novels.

Peace,
Kelly
~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Not quite "Hook 'em, Horns!" but I was going for that.
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Apparently dogs are supposed to dress "properly" too! :-D
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
I love my blue suede boots!  Giardino dell'Iris - Florence, Italia
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy gardens
Florence Italy flowers happy birthday Rudy
Kelly and Rudy many (too many) years ago.  Austin, Texas


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Trofeo Marzocco Sbandieratori Florence Italy



Dear Art Lover,
     The first of May is the Festa del Lavoro [Labor Day] in Italia.  It comes the morning after La Notte Bianca (The White Night) in Florence.  Each town sets its own date for the city-wide party that is the White Night, in which the streets are packed with people, food, music, and sometimes much more amazing things, such as light shows and theatres.  

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy on 1 May 2015 - Labor Day
 
     So, I was a bit drowsy starting off my Italian Labor Day.  Thankfully, I did not have to be anywhere until 3 pm and I got to meet a wonderful lady, Camila Martinez.  She is a friend of my Texas-based friend Kate and we shared a lovely evening and meal together.  She had been down in Roma presenting her creations at a conference.  Camilia is making a series of films working with the Mayan peoples (whom I did not realize still existed) to educate them on how Monsanto is spreading its GMO life-destroying seeds in Mexico.  Camilia has many interests and this was not her first time in Florence.  

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
View from behind the base for Cellini's bronze Perseus sculpture

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
The left side of the base shows the dead Medusa's hand (bronze).

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
I could not resist this shot "Lion bites the head off of a man."


     I was elated to find out that Friday morning on Facebook that the historic competition Trofeo Marzocco was starting at 3.30 p.m. in Piazza della Signoria.  This is the flag-waving competition (Trofeo = trophy, Marzocco = a lion that is the symbol/protector of Firenze).  The flag-waving group Bandierai degli Uffizi di Firenze performed as well as a couple of others.  I was charmed by the group nicknamed the “Zanzare” [mosquitos]:  children learning the art of flag-waving.  All wore costumes designed in medieval times or inspired by that era.

     Incidentally, it is my understanding that bandiera is the flag itself, whereas the “S” in front as in  sbandieratori refers to the people who throw the flags.  [The ending of that latter word is also a clue that the word prefers to people who do a specific thing.]  I also like it that girls, boys, kids, and old men perform together.

     The timing of the event was perfect and Camilia was delighted and enchanted with the performance.  While I am not big on crowds, I was surprised how relatively few people were up inside the Loggia dei Lanzi to get a gander of the acts. But it was nice to me to take a break for a wee bit and just sit in this environment full of sculpture as the medieval drum beats filled my heart.  Thank you, Kate!

     Some fun links if you would like to see more related to today’s topics:
The flag-waving group of Florence:
https://www.facebook.com/BandieraidegliUffizi
Symbol of Florence: The Marzocco (lion) created by Donatello:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marzocco
Images from the flag-waving competition:
http://www.lanazione.it/firenze/sbandieratori-marzocco-1.908669

     Incidentally, the crew of Ron Howard with actor Tom Hanks, among many others, are filming in Florence now on another of the Dan Brown novels.

Peace,

Kelly

~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher
Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
Kids should be able to see too, but at the expense of everyone else in the crowd?
Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
Nice dreads!  Thankfully she was not up high for long (not a kid!).
Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
Could David be less interested in the judges or even the performers?
Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
Make a standing pyramid and then rotate all in a 360 ! 

Florence, Italy, profile lion Perseus, Piazza della Signoria
Comparing profiles:  Perseum and Lion

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria
Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria

Florence, Italy, Labor Day, flag-waving competition, Piazza della Signoria


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