Monday, March 10, 2008

Caravaggio in the Rain

Today I tried to work as a madonnara on Via Calimala in Florence, Italy. I arrived around 13:30, after my work with model Valentina. Not a good day for making a drawing or earning some euros – it was raining off and on, and then later, just on.

My project for today was to copy Caravaggio’s “St John the Baptist as a Youth with Ram” I really did not get very far – maybe 30 minutes into it since two vans were parked over the square that my permit allows me to paint in. The polizia found the drivers (who also had permits to park within the city during the day), but asked if I minded waiting until after they finished lunch before they moved their vans.

In the meantime, Claudio and Laura (two Florentines who run the madonnari organization, asked me to walk over to Piazza della Signoria at 15:00 for a photoshoot with some journalists who wanted to help publicize Claudio’s strike against freedom of expression. When I returned, I took the photo you see here. Funny that the glare from some of the raindrops makes it look like the whites of the boy saint’s eyes are really glowing!

(Prior to the scheduled photo shoot, giornalista Fabrizio Boschi of “Il Giornale della Toscana” interviewed me in my drawing square, even taking photos of me creating il mio disegno brutto. I laughed when he asked me my age. It reminded me of my first experiences in Italia in 2004 – after establishing my nationality, the men I met in the piazze always wanted to know my age. I was still of the school in which one does not ask a woman her age, and was curiously amused instead of offended by this behaviour.)

These next two shots were taken in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria. Claudio is the chained protester / founder of the madonnari and is seen wearing a red scarf. I just loved this doggie bicycle that one of our audience members had with him. While I hate the dog poo that litters this lovely old city, the dogs here rarely seem interested in biting any stranger who gets close. This one seemed especially sweet.

Then this last image is what I returned to find after my publicity efforts. It was interesting to me how much red remained (especially after yesterday’s blog entry about the Slaughtering of the Lambs. I get frustrated sometimes at the pastel kits I have bought for this job. I never seem to have enough dark colors. This image may look weirder than expected because the top is actually seen here on the bottom. I flipped the image, after needing to take it from the angle that gave me the least amount of glare from the rain-wetting street.

Anyway, I poured my water on the soaked chalk and grabbed my broom for extra scrubbing. Perhaps tomorrow’s artist will have less rain.

Thank you for reading!

1 comment:

Rodney said...

i know it must be frustrating with conditions like this but practice makes perfect and you have proved that time and again. if you take my age your still a teenager lol and you are a sweet young thing. the good ole boys over there are just being careful, lol. keep on keeping on girl you have the bull by the tail...Rodney