Monday, January 13, 2020

Artnotes: A Putti Toe

The Big Teacup  Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  (flat, unstretched)   7 x 6.5" 17 x  16.5cm   

Romagna Broccoli   Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas 7 x 9.5" 18 x 24cm   130.00

Winter Carrots: Collevechio   Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  612 x 10"  30  x 25 cm  195.00 
when we're not visiting basilicas, we're buying vegies to paint....

Blair and Harika at Lake Bracciano   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 11"  40 x 27cm  250.00

Harika, Waiting at Home   Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  24 x 32"  61 x 81cm  435.00

A Day at St. Peter's  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 10"  30 x 25cm   195.00

Enrico Bruschini gave us his book, In the Footsteps of the Popes, a guide to the Vatican, a few weeks ago.  Since then, we’ve been itching to put his recommendations to work.   So on a particularly slow morning, we decided to drive to Rome and see St. Peter’s.  We’d both seen in in the 1970s, but not been there since.  Classic buildings never change, but this time we were armed with more knowledge. 

The line was only 15 minutes long, a great appeal since we’ve seen it fill nearly half the piazza at times.  We stood in line with people from all countries, of whom, none seemed to be American.   Our embassy here has sent out a “yellow” alert regarding travel – maybe people are taking it to heart, although I could see no reason for attacking St. Peters.  To give in to fear shows the enemy has won. 

As soon as we stepped our foot into the portico, it was clear this was no ordinary basilica.   Entering the door, one feels overwhelmed by the 15 story open interior.  The scale is well, humbling.   The Putti, those little angel-like-child sculptures who populate Baroque art, hanging from every frame, are much larger than me.   Marble figures of the saints and popes wouldn’t fit in my living room.  Am I just an ant, subject to the power of God?  No, this is a display of the potency of the Popes and the Catholic Church; an expression of its time through architecture.  I felt no different than when I saw Hagia Sophia, or Notre Dame Cathedral -- gobsmacked.   There are markers in the nave indicating the size of those very churches:  Notre Dame, St. Patricks…one could fit those churches inside here, and have room to spare.   

The Pieta, despite her almost normal size, commands our attention, and that of many other people.  This is Michelangelo’s best work, in my view, and the marble glows, despite the fact it is a good distance from the crowd.   It is amazing that this relatively small work of art can compete with the world’s largest basilica, which, in the end, Michelangelo designed.  

The interiors really belong to Bernini, with his magnificent baroque style.  His Baldichino, and window, and many of the statues are testimony to his greatness.  His colleague and contemporary, Borromini, a great sculptor/architect himself, was responsible for much of the engineering which keeps this behemoth and its decoration, upright.

We left after an hour, before seeing everything – both of us have a limit for input.  We walked around the neighborhood, looking for an antique store we liked.   I have been seeking a shelf for my gondola night light.  And, miraculously, we found one; shelves are often left behind when people move.    “Don’t you think it’s a little big?” Blair asked (he’s an architect).  “Oh, no,” I replied of the Baroque ceramic (fake marble) piece.  It wasn’t even the size of a Putti’s toe. 

The proprietor of the store threw in two enormous teacups (one of which I was admiring) to go with it.  When we got home, the shelf seemed enormous and the two teacups consume a full pot of tea. 
I can’t wait to visit St. Peter’s again, maybe with you?

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