Saturday, June 17, 2017

Artnotes: It Must Be Italy

Cherries with Turquoise Dish  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  13 x 18"  33 x 46cm

Two Views of the Garden

​View East from Stimigliano  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  16 x 20"  40 x 50cm

 View to the Tiber  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  10 x 20"  25 x 50cm

​Butterflies in the Lavender  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  11 x 16"  27 x 41cm

The Hills with Olive Trees  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  10 x 20"  25 x 50cm

and, the real thing, in photo :

We were disappointed a friend couldn’t make it to visit this week (he may come later) so we took a motor trip ourselves.  A painting friend lent us his villa in the hills outside of Rome.

We stopped halfway at Arezzo (2 hours), where Piero della Francesco’s fantastic frescoes adorn San Antonio’s basilica.  It was the feast of St. Anthony of Padua (the patron saint of my elementary school, in Winsted, Connecticut), so the church was open to all and women were selling rolls at a big table.  For a euro, I got a holy card and a roll.  It was quite lucky, because were we to pay the fee to see the murals with the lights on, it was 11 euros each, and we’d seem them already, just in natural light, which is how they would have been seen when the artist painted them.  Piero della Francesca’s flat footed, carefully drawn figures made me think of Degas.  I hope to pursue that comparison on my own, from pictures, later on.  Afterward, we ate pici with calcio and pepe (big square spaghetti with generous grindings of pecorino romano cheese and fresh, roughly ground pepper), at a nice little restaurant.

It was quite hot on our trip, 100F/38C at times; it is almost as hot where we live.   The pool was still filling, but I managed to dip several times, just to cool off.  Harika loved these gardens, like Monet’s at Giverny, with unobstructed views and no intruders.  We could buy a 600 square foot house (no garden) in Stimigliano for 29,000 euros, only one hour away from Rome by local train.

We went to the MAXXI museum in Rome, designed by Zaha Hadid.  I mostly wanted to see her building, but there was a very good contemporary Architecture show going on, from the museum’s permanent collection.   There was a series of contemporary drawings on antique paper, black and white, which made me think of what I do with my ledgers and ships’ logs.  Also, the installations and the Sol Lewitt work made me realize I am better off thinking myself, without explanations.  After I read the Sol Lewitt description, I couldn’t see the picture anymore.

The next day, we drove a half hour to the palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, but it was so hot we couldn’t feature climbing the steps.  We continued on through groves of hazelnuts (Nutella on the hoof) and went to a nearby lake to swim:  always bring a bathing suit.

Traveling with a dog makes you take the sensible route – on the way home, the three of us ate at the Autostrade restaurant:  arancini, spinach lasagna and red wine.   I’d packed last night’s pork chop for Harika.   We saw a priest in summer white robes near the side of the road with a broken down car: it must be Italy.

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