Tuesday, May 23, 2017

last day in Florence ... miscellaneous Art

Here are some souvenirs (none purchased, you'll be glad to hear) outside the Duomo - I was rather taken by turning Brunelleschi's dome into an umbrella, though.

Here is the most utterly adorable unicorn, in a side chapel in Santa Croce;

here an excerpt from a quite wonderful performed video introducing one into the life and performed campness of Herbert Horne - complete with animated designs on the wall behind him (the museum is great, too - a small but perfectly formed intro to Renaissance art genres and materials, and also to late C19th text and print - I was so glad to see copies of the Century Guild Hobby Horse, which featured in my PhD - and of course I didn't know enough at the time to understand what I could have been doing with it.

A lion - a positively Venetian lion, but actually guarding Dante outside Santa Croce;

Dante, reflected and reflecting, in a window by Santa Croce;

and, inside Santa Croce, some fish.

Monday, May 22, 2017

more florentine bits and pieces

A solitary poppy in the Boboli Gardens, where I don't think I've spent much time since I was a graduate student, reading Keith Thomas' Religion and the Decline of Magic, day after day, under a tree (I think entrance to the gardens must have been free then - or nearly so - alas, no more);

some more wall art, on the Lung'arno;

a pillar and arch at the entrance to Santa Maria Novella - the chapel in the Green Cloister still has some of my favorite frescoes in the world (admittedly illustrating the dangerous lures of everyday life - dancing, and music-making, and climbing trees to eat forbidden fruit);

a shrine on a street corner;

and the roundabout/carousel on the Piazza della Repubblica.   

Sunday, May 21, 2017

a city view, and more variegated wall art ...

One terrific tourist view - there's a rose garden half way up to San Miniato al Monte - I don't remember it from the past, but it's quite peaceful ... But what happened to the big cat colony that used to hang out on these steps??

Then back in the city itself, a reminder that one needs to destroy in order to create (but does that destruction include painting over earlier graffiti?);

... some cheruns getting tangled up in a sculpted curtain (in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi);

a stray crocodile;

and a listening ear.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

our Florentine apartment's study ceiling, two final conference views, and a balcony ...

It is remarkable that every time we go and re-set the temperamental internet here - about every twenty minutes - that we can look up and see this ceiling ...

Two final La Pietra views - a distance shot of the main villa, and a close-up of Villa Sassetti, the site of many of the sessions that I attended ...

and then a balcony, from the Piazza SS Annunziata - which I walked through most mornings and evenings on my way to and from the 25 bus.

Friday, May 19, 2017

three different views

View one: Piazza Santa Croce - our apartment is in the next street.  Here some rain clouds are gathering.

View 2: the view from today's seminar room - which housed a brilliant and very useful seminar by Jay Clayton on using various Digital Humanities exercises in the classroom (today was probably the first and last time in which I've tweeted in the persona of Natalie Barney - which was fun).  We were responding, in different modes - in character, and then as our scholarly selves, grouped into threes and each focusing on one object - to Harold Acton's bedroom, a temple of fusty fussiness.

View three - en route to the seminar rooms - a broken arch.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Florentine walls (and a seminar room)

This morning began in a room with this - and similar figures in it: to recover (from the decor, not the papers) I grounded myself with a lot of walking this afternoon.  My iPhone claims to have walked over 24,000 steps, which probably explains the tired legs earned in pursuit of wacky wall art.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

reception with a view

If I didn't get to talk to you at the reception this evening, that was because we had to go and explore the gardens ... how could one resist?  I don't think - and this is saying something - that I've ever been to a conference reception in such a stunning site ...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

wall decoration (and gelato)

En route to catch the bus up to lead a workshop this morning - a Florentine performance of Waiting for Godot, plus some old and very apt shoes.

Later, and on a wall.

So you want to know what the frescoes in our apartment look like?  Of course, I could say that they were a very important factor in why I chose it ...

but on the other hand, the fact that it's just a few hundred yards from Vivoli's, my long-time favorite gelataria, might also have something to do with it (I recommend the wild strawberry flavor ...).

Another, Dante-esque wall decoration;

and another part of our apartment's frescoes.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Florence apartment

For those of you who know A Room with a View backwards, our apartment is about a hundred yards from Santa Croce, looking onto a view - not of the Arno (that's below) but onto a very pretty courtyard.  It also has wonderful frescoes, and the world's worst internet, which is why you're not seeing pictures of them till tomorrow ...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

family photos

No Mother's Day picture as such, not least because Mothering Sunday, in the UK, is on the middle Sunday in Lent, and therefore this American celebration always seems to have involved shaking the calendar in a strange and not entirely comprehensible way ... instead, let me offer you Alice with her mother in law, aka my mother, showing her photos from her forthcoming book.  Since she's just come off a transatlantic flight, this was valiant work.

Meanwhile, my father is having his pint and pipe in the garden, behind the wondrous jasmine and the apparently unbudgeable ladder.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

art imitating art

To Dulwich Picture Gallery, primarily to see the Vanessa Bell exhibition - which certainly gave one the opportunity to see a lot of her work that's in private collections (including a huge and somehow gloomy canvas, with three female figures having a rather bad day, by the look of it, that's owned by Bryan Ferry).  It was very determinedly a thematically grouped show - portraits; design; figures of women; "at home;" landscapes - which meant that one had no real sense of her chronology.  If this might have been an attempt to avoid the Bloomsbury Myth in some way, it didn't work- not least because there were so many tasty Bloomsbury photos, including VB and Molly MacCarthy posing nude - very goddess-figured.  Certainly very glad to have seen it, though en masse it really screamed Matisse, albeit with a muddier palette.

Of course, no photos in the show.  But in the gallery itself there were - laid on, like sideshows - a couple of very proficient copyists, and outside, some truly excellent (commissioned) hoarding art - on the top, "inspired by" (although it's not totally easy to see how) Caracci's Last Communion of St Francis, and at the bottom, by Herman van Swanevelt's Arch of Constantine, Rome (both are inside ...).

Friday, May 12, 2017

behind the blind

Evening.  My parents' dining room.  The jasmine - which smells wonderful.  And - The Ladder.  The self-same ladder that my father has been using to ascend to the garage roof - I think he's finished doing whatever he's doing up there.  The ladder does not belong to him.  The ladder belongs to his contractor/friend Martin.  I have no idea why this ladder (surely a security risk?) is still there.  My mother vaguely says that maybe Martin has nowhere else to store it, but that seems both improbable, and no real reason for why it's been parked at the side of their house for 6 months.  Sigh.  One of the many, many strange queries that pop up when visiting home ...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

the ritual photo

Most of you know the ritual - first night back in my parents' house, I post a picture of the vase of flowers from the garden that's been left in my room - this time, as so often, in the vase that I gave my mother for Christmas in 1965 or 1966.  I think I bought it in Woolworths.  It includes some extra-strongly scented jasmine, from by our back door.  It's posed against a wet dark London night (my father was complaining that it never rains any more, but it's been doing just that, this evening ...).

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

packing a suitcase

Why is it that I get the feeling that Moth either (a) doesn't want me to go to England/Italy or (b) wants to come too?  The first of these isn't practical - I'm at LAX - and nor is the second, for a load of obvious reasons.  Leaving the cats (yes, there are three, though Moth has hogged the limelight recently - quite in character) is the hardest thing about traveling - I'll get to see Alice on Sunday, but I doubt that she'll be able to have packed any companions, either.