Artnotes Italy Daily

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Artnotes: Counterpoint

​Leaves on the Window  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/glass  10 x 38"  25 x 96cm

Falling Leaves   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Woodblock/paper  6 x 4"  15 x 10cm

​View Castevetro Vines   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  14 x 20"  35 x 50cm  Sold

​Poplars on the Panaro   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  10 x 20"  25 x 50 cm BUY


Tempio Malatestiano  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  14 x 20"  35 x 50cm  SOLD


We went to Rimini this week, to see Alberti’s Malatesta Temple and walk off our election upset on the beach.   The Malatesta Temple is an early Renaissance renovation of a 13th century church, with a fresco by Piero della Francesco and blue/white reliefs by Duccio.  The church is remarkably simple, almost Zen, by Renaissance standards.  It may be my favorite piece of Renaissance architecture.

Our trip was to coincide with work on the house, but for the gazillionth time the repair of our leaky French doors in the library was postponed:   too cold this morning for the 70+ year olds’ fingers to work.  Of course, my own 60+ year old fingers don’t always feel good outside in the cold, but I hope I will have the courage and grace to turn over whatever task it is to a younger person when the time comes.

There are a plethora of young, abled-bodied men here who could easily do the job.   We hired one to weather-seal our windows – talked on Monday, job done by Tuesday.  He even cleaned up afterward.   He is the same fellow who helped the traditional woodworker install new windows, but it’s unlikely the local will use him again.  You see, the refugee is black.  “You would let him in your house?” the carpenter asked us.  We swallowed our shock, and replied. 

When people here ask me how we can use “immigrant labor”, I tell them America was built by immigrants, many of them Italian.

I think it is so funny our “Italian” experience has not entirely been with Italians.  Many of our new friends are from Africa, UK, USA, the middle East.   Recent visitors said I should write a book about moving to Italy, the antithesis of Peter Mayle’s  “year in Provence”.    Isn’t it marvelous we live in such a changing world?  And we’re in the thick of it.  

We had British friends over recently, who were talking about middle class and working class. “I am sorry,” I said, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”   They embrace me for my ignorance.  “You Americans are so good in that way,” she said.   And it is true, as Americans are much more class unconscious than the Europeans, despite this week’s sad blip.

The work is being done on the windows as I write.  This truly is the coldest (35F/2C) day of the year, so far, and the windows are completely open.   Blair and I and Harika are hunkered in the downstairs bedroom with an electric heater.  We’ve been out to paint, gone to the new winery in the neighborhood, Terra Quila, bought a dozen bottles.   We’re going to the Liberty show at Reggio Emilia’s Palazzo Magnani this afternoon.

Meanwhile work progresses slowly, the men are pleasant enough, and relaxed.   I bring them cakes and coffee (they don’t drink it).   Tomorrow one of the refugees will come to help me clean and put the house back together.


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